Lee Teng-hui Celebrates his 90th Birthday: Who Wasn't There?

  Previous  |  Next  

Monday January 03, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Lee Teng-hui, a man who played a key role in helping Taiwan achieve its democracy, celebrated his 90th Birthday. As president of Taiwan from 1988 to 2000, and in helping Taiwan's democracy, Lee made two crucial decisions; first he brought to an end (1992)the iron rice bowl positions of KMT legislators elected in 1947 and second he insisted that the president be elected by the people and not selected by legislators (1996); at that time he would have been guaranteed the position by the KMT dominated legislature but he chose to be elected by the people.

In celebrating Lee's turning 90, some 300 guests of all political parties joined in wishing him well, and in that regard the focus and/or bhagwa was more on who was not there than who was.

Present from all parties were notables KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, TSU Chairmaan Huang Kun-huei, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, and PFP Chairman James Soong (a mild surprise given their chequeered past).

It was a clearly Taiwan celebration. Absent was anyone from the People's Republic of China (PRC) as well as Honorary KMT Chairman Lien Chan, the man who was vice president under Lee. I guess he will have to be happy with his Peace Prize from the PRC. Also notably missing was Taiwan's current president Ma Ying-jeou, but Ma did get mention as one trying to push Taiwan into a "one-China" market. Was that why there was no invite?

Ah, let the bhagwa begin, but before you start, I have to admit that I wasn't invited either. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.