Former vice president of Taiwan to speak at URI

Lecture part of URI Honors Colloquium, China Rising

KINGSTON, RI—November 2, 2007—Lien Chan, former vice president of Taiwan and honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), the Nationalist Party in Taiwan, will discuss the Taiwan Strait issue during a talk at the University of Rhode Island. The talk, free and open to the public, will be held Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center, 10 Chafee Road, Kingston.

The Taiwan Strait lies between mainland China and the island of Taiwan. Taiwan is applying for admission to the United Nations as a member state under the name Taiwan. Taiwan independence is not supported by the United States and is fiercely opposed by the People’s Republic of China, which has enacted a law promising to quash such a move by force. For this reason, Taiwan has become a flash point along with North Korea in East Asia.

Dr. Lien will argue that co-management of the Taiwan Strait issue has succeeded so far in maintaining the status quo in the region. However, if the U.S. commitment to co- manage the Taiwan Strait issue weakens, will China feel compelled to single- handedly manage the Taiwan Strait issue.

Lien’s visit is part of the URI Honors Colloquium, China Rising. The semester-long series explores China’s dramatic transformation during the past three decades, a transformation that has returned that country to the leading role it has played throughout most of world history.

Lien’s talk, “Co-Management of the Taiwan Strait Issue,” will explore whether Beijing and Washington are competing or cooperating and the political power of Taipei, the bustling center of Taiwan’s commerce, government, and culture.

During his visit to URI, Lien will donate 200 books, written in Chinese language by Lien and Mrs. Lien to URI Confucius Institute. In addition, three sets of the famous “A General History of Taiwan” by Lien’s grandfather, Lien Heng, will be donated to URI. When he made his historic visit to China in 2005 after 56 years of separation, he presented the same gifts of books to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Lien, now 71, held various posts in the Taiwan government before becoming its vice president in 1996. In 1976, he was appointed Director of the Committee of Youth Affairs of the KMT. Two years later he became the Deputy Secretary General of the Central Committee, and the Commissioner of the National Youth Commission of the Executive Yuan, earning him a reputation as a mentor of youths.

Lien rose to the upper echelons of the Taiwan government rapidly, holding posts of Minister of Transportation and Communications, Vice Premier of the Executive Yuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Governor of Taiwan Province, Premier of the Executive Yuan, and eventually Vice-President of Taiwan and Chairman of the Kuomintang. His political career spans more than 30 years. His experience in matters of state covers both domestic and diplomatic affairs.

In 1957, Lien earned a degree in political science from the University of Taiwan. He earned a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy in 1961 and a doctorate in political science in 1965, both from the University of Chicago. He then taught and did research at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Connecticut. In 1968, he returned to Taiwan, becoming a visiting professor in political science at the University of Taiwan, and later became chairman of the department and of the Graduate Institute of Political Science.

Sustaining Sponsors: Tom Silvia ’83 and Shannon Chandley ’83 Honors Colloquium Endowment, Mark ’64 and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment. Major Sponsors: URI Honors Program, URI Office of the President, URI Office of the Provost, Confucius Institute at URI, URI College of Business Administration, URI College of Engineering, URI College of Arts & Sciences, URI Division of University Advancement. Sponsors: Kenneth and Susan Kermes, Hon. ’06, URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, URI Division of Student Affairs, URI Multicultural Center. Co-Sponsors: Robert L. Carothers and Jayne Richmond, John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, URI AAUP, URI Alumni Association, URI College of Human Science & Services, URI Division of Administration, URI University College, URI Women’s Studies Program. Please visit online for the most current colloquium information and directions, or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or