Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Peng's beliefs secures him a place in Taiwan's history

VISIONARY The independence icon's drafting of a declaration of Taiwan's self-determination in 1964 started a discourse on the nation and its place in the world

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Peng returned to Taiwan and completed his education at National Taiwan University. He turned from the pleasures of French culture to a legal aspects of air navigation.

According to George H. Kerr, who wrote the foreword for Peng's memoir, "[Peng] soon made himself a local authority [in air navigation], attracting the attention of his faculty and winning the patronage of the distinguished scholar Dr. Hu Shih (胡適)."

"[Peng] was sent abroad to study, first to Montreal and then to Paris. Here he distinguished himself as a pioneer in the new field of law, and his technical publications attracted considerable international attention," Kerr wrote.

Before drafting the declaration, Peng had been appointed as legal adviser to the KMT at the UN. Political realities at the UN strengthened Peng in his conviction that there is one China and one Taiwan.

In November 1965, Peng was convicted of sedition and sentenced to eight years in prison, but his sentence was later commuted to house arrest, where he was placed under 24-hour surveillance. In 1970, he escaped from Taipei and took political asylum in Sweden.

Out of consideration for the safety of those who helped him escape, Peng has never openly discussed the episode.

Peng later moved his place of exile to the US until 1992, when he returned to Taiwan following the lifting of martial law.

Paired with Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) as his running mate, Peng ran for president under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) banner in 1996 during the nation's first direct presidential election. The Peng-Hsieh ticket then garnered about 21.1 percent of the vote.

In the decades after the drafting of his declaration, Peng remains devoted to his beliefs and continues to speak out for the right to self-determination of the Taiwanese people.

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