In shadow of China war games, Taiwan bids farewell to ‘Mr Democracy’

imageWorld33 minutes ago (Sep 18, 2020 11:11PM ET)


(C) Reuters. Memorial service for late Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui in New Taipei City


By Ben Blanchard and Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan bid farewell on Saturday to late-president Lee Teng-hui, dubbed “Mr. Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in favor of free elections and championing Taiwan’s separate identity from China.

Lee’s memorial service took place in the shadow of Chinese war games, as did his election as Taiwan’s first democratic leader in 1996. China claims the island as its own territory.

Lee was president from 1988 to 2000.

Lee’s greatest act of defiance was becoming Taiwan’s first democratically-elected president in March 1996, achieved with a landslide following eight months of intimidating war games and missile tests by China in waters around the island.

Those events brought China and Taiwan to the verge of conflict, prompting the United States to send a carrier task force to the area in a warning to the Beijing government.

On Friday, China carried out drills in the Taiwan Strait, including sending 18 fighter jets to buzz the island, as Beijing expressed anger at the visit of a senior U.S. official to Taipei, there for Lee’s memorial.

Speaking at the memorial service in a chapel at a Taipei university, President Tsai Ing-wen said he had shaped the Taiwan of today.

“Confronted with daunting international challenges, he skilfully led the people of Taiwan by promoting pragmatic diplomacy. Taiwan became synonymous with democracy and was catapulted onto the world stage. Because of this, President Lee came to be lauded as Mr. Democracy,” Tsai said.

“Thanks to his efforts, Taiwan now shines as a beacon of democracy.”

Lee, a committed Christian, died in July aged 97.

U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach and former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori also attended his memorial.

Lee’s remains will be interred at a military cemetery next month.

In shadow of China war games, Taiwan bids farewell to ‘Mr Democracy’

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.