A Timeline of Lee Teng-hui's Political Career in Taiwan

A Timeline of Lee Teng-hui's Political Career in Taiwan
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像
What you need to know

Taiwan's first democratically elected president, Lee Teng-hui, passes away at 97.

1923|Born in Tamsui "Lee Teng-hui was born on January 15, 1923 in Tamsui while Taiwan under imperial Japanese rule. He received a Japanese education, and was given a Japanese name, Iwasato Masao. He graduated from the elite Taipei College-preparatory School. After WWII, he graduated from the agricultural economics department of National Taiwan University. Lee was awarded a scholarship to study agricultural economics at Cornell University in the United States. In the 1950s, Lee held a research position on the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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1972|The youngest Cabinet member In 1971, Lee was introduced to Chiang Ching-kuo by the director of the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction. A year later, Lee joined Chiang's Cabinet with his expertise in agriculture. He was the youngest Cabinet member at the time.
1978|Taipei Mayor "Chiang assigned Lee as the mayor of Taipei City.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage "
1981|Governor of Taiwan Province "After three years in his mayoral position, Lee was promoted to be the governor of Taiwan Province. During his time as governor, he pushed for further agricultural development and improved the production and sales of Taiwan's agricultural products.

Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images"
1984|Vice President "Chiang nominated Lee to be vice president. Lee was elected to be the 7th ROC Vice President by the National Assembly in 1984.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"
1988|Presidency "After Chiang passed away in 1988, Lee succeeded him as president. He also became the first Taiwan-born chairman of the Kuomintang.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"
1990|"February Political Struggles" "In February 1990, a conservative mainlander faction failed in an attempt to dethrone Lee with Hau Pei-tsun, then-chief of the General Staff. With his military background, Hau was appointed to be the defense minister, later premier. Analysts thought these appointments were meant to strip military power from Hau.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"
1990|Abolishing the National Assembly "In June 1990, Lee convened the National Affairs Conference, bringing together representatives from all corners of Taiwan’s political life to deliberate on constitutional reforms. Responding to the demands of the Wild Lily Student Movement, he called for a new election for “Ten Thousand Year” National Assembly and reforms to democratize the Parliament.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage
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1991|End of the Temporary Provisions Against Communist Rebellion "In May 1991, declared the end of the so-called Mobilization for Suppression of Communist Rebellion. At the same time, he initiated efforts to reform the constituion. After reforming the constitution, Taiwan’s democratic reforms advanced promptly. Three years later, the National Assembly decided to hold direct elections for president, scheduled for 1996.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage
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1996|Taiwan's first elected president & a missile crisis "Lee became Taiwan's first directly elected president with 54% of the vote in 1996. He was also the first Taiwanese president to have visited the United States in the prior year. The democratic election and Lee's U.S. visit prompted the Chinese government to launch missiles over Taiwan as a fear tactic.

Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images"
1999|"Two States Theory" "In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Lee for the first time defined the relations between China and Taiwan as the ""special relations between two countries."" It was coined as the ""Two States Theory.""

Photo Credit: CNA"
2000|End of presidency "Lee's presidential term ended in 2000 and he also resigned from the KMT chairmanship in the same year.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"
2001|Taiwan Solidarity Union "Lee endorsed a new political party, Taiwan Solidarity Union and departed from the KMT officially.

Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"
2020|Death "Because of his old age and poor health, Lee had stayed away from most public events in recent years. He passed away on July 30, 2020, after five months of hospitalization. He was 97.

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: National Depository of Cultural Heritage"