President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday awarded former Judicial Yuan president Shih Chi-yang (施啟揚) and former Control Yuan presidents Wang Tso-jung (王作榮) and Chen Lu-an (陳履安) with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon.
It is customary to award former premiers, legislative speakers and the presidents of the Control Yuan, Judicial Yuan and Examination Yuan with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon after retirement, but since the finalization of the Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC), Wang, Chen and Shih were the only three administrative heads that had not yet been presented with such an award on stepping down from their positions.
The Presidential Office said that as the Medals Act (勳章條例) did not restrict presidents from awarding medals to administrative chiefs that had retired under previous administrations, Ma had decided to honor the custom and personally award medals to the three former civil servants.
The Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon was first given on Feb. 12, 1941, has nine orders, and is usually given to civil servants in recognition of extraordinary contributions made to the nation, or to civilians or foreigners whose actions have greatly contributed to the nation.
The Presidential Office said in accordance with Article 6 of the Medals Act: “Individuals making extraordinary contributions to the nation’s administrative, legislative, judicial, examination or control systems should be awarded the Order of Propitious Clouds or the Order of the Brilliant Star.”
Shih and his wife, Lee Chung-kuei (李鍾桂), attended the ceremony yesterday, and though Shih was unable to speak due to illness, Lee Chung-kuei said that it was one of the happiest days in her husband’s life.
When Ma conferred the award on Shih, the former civil servant held Ma’s hand tightly for a long time, overcome with emotion, but unable to express himself.
“When my husband heard the news, he felt he did not deserve such recognition,” Lee Chung-kuei said.
However, following tradition and to give thanks for the president’s concern they decided to accept the award, she added.
Born in 1936, Shih received his doctorate in law at Germany’s Heidelberg University in 1967.
He was a teacher in National Taiwan University department of law when Ma attended the university, and also served as deputy minister of education, vice premier, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and secretary-general of the National Security Council.
Shih was also involved with the committee that investigated the 319 Incident, in which then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were shot at on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.