Known to be the first democratically elected president in Taiwan, Lee Teng-Hui’s life passed through 3 eras of modern Taiwan: Japanese Era, White Terror Era, and democratized Taiwan.
Growing up in Taiwan under Japanese colonization, Lee Teng-Hui attained his bachelors, masters and phD in agricultural economics. Through an effort to bring up local Taiwanese talent, Chiang Ching-Kuo selected Teng-Hui to be vice-president. In the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT,) Lee Teng-Hui became the second highest power in the party and state. After Ching-Kuo’s death in 1988, through line of succession, Lee Teng-Hui became president of the Republic of China.
Days before Teng-Hui’s inauguration, student gathered at the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial to protest the governmental proceedings and wanted a political reform. This was the Wild Lily Student Movement.
On the fifth day of the protest, one day before his inauguration, soon-to-be president Lee Teng-Hui met with the student leaders and promised to meet their demands. One request was the abolition of the national assembly (who internally voted for the president) which would lead to a democratic vote for the office of the presidency.
In 1996, the first democratic election for president went underway and was won by president Lee Teng-Hui.
Later in 2001, accused of splitting the KMT and causing the party to lose the 2000 presidential election, Teng-Hui’s party membership was revoked. Since then, Teng-Hui has been a strong voice for Taiwan independence and self-determination.
Lee Teng-hui – The First Chinese Democracy by Public Television Service
Taiwan History – Lee Teng-Hui by Formosa Television