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Veteran Taiwan Independence Activist Peng Ming-min Dies at 98 | Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), a veteran pro-democracy and pro-independence activist from Taiwan, died on Friday (April 8) in Taipei.


Peng was one of the most influential figures in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In 2000, he served as National Political Advisor to former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).


Born in Taichung during Japanese rule (1895-1945), Peng studied law and political science at what was then Tokyo Imperial University, later renamed Tokyo University. Peng returned to Taiwan to continue his studies at National Taiwan University and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1948, when there was a political crackdown on intellectuals after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost the civil war. for the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party and moved to Taiwan.


After graduating, Peng worked briefly in a bank, then earned a master’s degree in law from McGill University in Canada and a doctorate in international law from the University of Paris in 1954. After returning to Taiwan to teach at National Taiwan University, Peng was already an internationally renowned international law expert.


Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek later appointed Peng as an advisor to the Taiwanese delegation to the United Nations in 1961, the highest political post held by an ethnic Taiwanese at the time.


However, Peng became skeptical of the political system after three years of service, so he jointly authored “A Manifesto to Save Taiwan,” which advocated rewriting the outdated constitution to reflect political reality, protect human rights, man and create responsible government, as well as joining the UN with a new identity – as Taiwan rather than “China”.


The attempt to update the constitution failed and Peng was sentenced to eight years in prison. However, Peng managed to escape to Sweden and then to the United States in 1970.


He held leadership positions in several pro-democracy and pro-independence organizations during his 22 years in the United States, during which he co-founded the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) in 1982. This is become one of the most influential organizations in Washington. pro-Taiwan based lobby groups.


Peng returned to Taiwan in 1992 at the invitation of President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). He joined the DPP in 1995 and ran against Lee in the country’s first direct presidential election on behalf of the DPP.


The Peng Foundation for Culture and Education (彭明敏文教基金會) announced Peng’s loss on Friday morning (April 8), adding that the veteran pro-independence activist will be laid to rest in a cemetery at the Presbyterian Church in Yancheng District. , Kaohsiung.

Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera