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Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan's Father of Democracy, Passed Away


The eighth and ninth president of the Republic of China and the alumni of the Taihoku High School, Former President Lee Teng Hui, died at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on July 30, 2020, age 98. The news shocked people all over the world. Leaders such as US Secretary of State Pompeo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and current President Tsai Ing-wen all expressed their condolences. The history of former President Lee leading Taiwan to the road to democracy is quite an emotional one.

Lee Tung Hui, considered the 'father of Taiwan's democracy, was born in 1923. He was the first popularly elected ROC president in 1996. President Lee entered Taihoku High School in 1941 and was one of only four Taiwanese students in his class. He graduated with honors in 1943 and was given a scholarship to Japan's Kyoto Imperial University. In 1953, Lee received a master's degree in agricultural economics from the Iowa State University (ISU) in the United States. In 1968, Lee returned to the United States, and earned a PhD in agricultural economics from Cornell University. His deep knowledge of agriculture and strong academic background prepares him in the development of Taiwan’s economy. The free spirit of Taihoku High School, the most prestigious high school in Taiwan, gave him the idea of democracy. President Lee said that the two and a half years at Taihoku High School has affected his whole life. He recalled that students often talked about Western thinkers like Marx, Goethe, Kant and Socrates. To him, the process of self-understanding and awakening marks the start of his honorable life, for him to lead Taiwan to become a democratic country from an authoritarian regime.

President Lee has always cherished his days at Taihoku High School. He was invited to give a speech and shared his course of self-reflection and hope for students. He said NTNU students are fundamental to the education field in Taiwan and the hope of Taiwan. It’s important for college students to challenge themselves, shoulder the responsibility of the new era, pass on the correct information to the next generation and to establish identity. He hopes that extraordinary leader will come up and bring Taiwan to the world.