Sun, Jan 01, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in Time:The unwilling politician

Chen Cheng, the governor responsible for declaring martial law in Taiwan, appears to have been partially forced by Chiang Kai-shek into his successful political career

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

In March 1950, Chen was “forced” into another position as Chiang asked him to succeed Yen Hsi-shan (閻錫山)as premier.

“It’s not that we didn’t have people who could do the job, it’s that nobody wanted to do it, and Chiang eventually sought me out. I did not think I was qualified, but Chiang insisted. We spoke directly and indirectly about this for at least nine times, and in the end he basically ordered me to do it.”

Correspondence shows that he tried to resign several times during his first year on the job, apparently to no avail.

And thus, Chen’s political career continued, whether he was willing or not — even eventually making it to Chiang’s vice president, which he served continuously from 1954 until he finally succumbed to illness in 1965.

Taiwan in Time, a column about Taiwan’s history that is published every Sunday, spotlights important or interesting events around the nation that have anniversaries this week.

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