Lin Yi-hsiung new DPP chairman

Taipei, 7 June 1998.

Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung 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 internationally.

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 authorities.

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