Taipei, 7 June 1998.
On 7 June 1998, Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung was elected the new chairman of
the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan.
After his election, Mr. Lin vowed to end nearly five decades of
ruling by the Kuomintang Nationalist Party. ``One of my tasks is to
make Democratic Progressive the ruling party, not just sharing power
with the Nationalists,'' Lin, who has strong grassroot support among
party members, told reporters. Lin, 57, said his other major mission
was to achieve consensus among all Taiwanese people in order to
fight for Taiwan's rightful place in the international community in
the face of increasing pressure from China to isolate Taiwan
The two major candidates in the election were Mr. Lin, a leading
figure in Taiwan's opposition since the late 1970s, and Mr. Chang Chün-hung,
an at-large member of the Legislative Yuan and a former
Secretary-General of the DPP. Lin garnered 62 percent of the total
vote cast, while Mr. Chang came in at 33 percent of the vote.
Mr. Lin is known for his highly principled position and high
standards, and will provide the DPP with a good headstart for the
upcoming elections for the Legislative Yuan at the end of 1998.
Mr. Lin is also the best person to lead the DPP into the 21st
century, and under his leadership the DPP will have the best chance
to become Taiwan's ruling party in the year 2000, when presidential
elections will be held.
Mr. Lin is one of Taiwan's most prominent opposition figures. He
became well-known in the late 1970s, when as a young lawyer he
became member of the Taiwan Provincial Assembly, and was one of the
first people to speak out against the Kuomintang's corruption and
repression under its Martial Law, which wasn't lifted until 1987.
His life took a tragic turn in the aftermath of the Kaohsiung
Incident of 1979, when he was arrested, and on 28 February 1980 -
while he was in prison - his mother and twin-daughters were murdered
in their home in downtown Taipei, while the house was under
surveillance by the secret police. A third daughter was injured
severely from knife stabbings, but survived. The Kuomintang
authorities never solved the murder although there were strong
indications of involvement by the secret police.
After "Kaohsiung", Mr. Lin was sentenced to 12 years
imprisonment, but was released after four-and-a-half years due to
strong international pressure. After his release he has dedicated
himself to improvement of Taiwan's social structure and enhancement
of the Taiwanese cultural identity, instead of the Chinese identity,
which has been emphasized by the mainlander-dominated Kuomintang
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