Hello dear friends!
April 11, 2022
- Leslie Liao
Taiwan mourns the death of a key figure in the country’s democratic transition and its independence movement.
Longtime Taiwanese independence advocate Peng Ming-min died last week at the age of 98. Peng’s foundation announced his death last Friday, but did not state a cause. Peng ran as the Democratic Progressive Party candidate in Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, President Chen Shui-bian hired him as a senior adviser to the president.
Peng was born in 1923. He studied in Canada and France. In 1942, he lost his left arm during an American aerial bombardment while he was in Japan. Authorities arrested Peng in 1964 for sedition after he published a manifesto advocating Taiwan independence. In 1970, Peng fled to Sweden and then to the United States where he became a teacher. There he established the Formosa Association for Public Affairs, or FAPA. He returned to Taiwan in 1992 after then-president Lee Teng-hui reformed Taiwan’s penal code, granting amnesty to Peng.
Premier Su Tseng-chang said Peng loves Taiwan and has devoted his whole life to the country. Su says he thinks Taiwanese will remember Peng as a fighter. He says Peng’s followers will carry on his legacy.
On its website, Peng’s foundation states that his last words were “Taiwan and China are separated.” It is an absolute truth. Peng’s will states that he does not wish a burial. He will be cremated and buried in a church in the city of Kaohsiung.
Peng had a rich life where he witnessed many major events in Taiwan’s history. His experience and his influence make him a unique actor. Although Peng is gone, his legacy is sure to live on.