Lin Yi-hsiung sworn in as new DPP chairman

Taipei, 1 August 1998

Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung On 1 August 1998, Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung was sworn in as chairman of the leading opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Mr. Lin, age 56, said during the swearing-in ceremony: "It is the DPP's goal that people in Taiwan can create their own country and enjoy equality and dignity like people in other nations."

He added: "Although people in Taiwan have different opinions about what Taiwan's future holds, they have a clear consensus that Taiwan's future should be decided by Taiwanese people themselves."

Before Lin's inauguration ceremony, some 20 members of a Movement for Nation-Building rallied outside the DPP headquarters to protest the policies of outgoing chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, who had advocated a controversial "westward" policy of exchanges and engagement with Beijing.

The protestors held Mr. Hsu indirectly responsible for the recent kidnap and murder of Kaohsiung city councillor Lin Tin-chuan in China, which has fueled anti-China sentiment in Taiwan. One of the protestors slapped Hsu in the face as he walked to the venue for Lin's swearing-in ceremony.

The new DPP chairman and other seven pro-independence activists were jailed in December 1979, when Formosa magazine, with which they were associated, organized Taiwan's first-ever Human Rights Day celebration in the Souther port-city of Kaohsiung. The event, referred to as the Kaohsiung Incident, became a turning-point in Taiwan's history, because it galvanized the native Taiwanese (85 percent of the population) into political action.

His life took a tragic turn in the aftermath of the Kaohsiung Incident: 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.

Mr. Lin was released in 1984; most of the others not until 1987-88.

The pro-independence DPP was founded on 28 September 1986 in spite of the ban on opposition parties. In the following year, mid-1987, the Kuomintang lifted Martial Law and the ban on opposition parties.

In local polls last November, the DPP won a major election victory, and inflicted the worst defeat in half a century on the KMT, winning 12 of the 23 administrative posts at stake to double their previous share.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back to: News and Current Events