Lee Teng-hui

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Lee Teng-hui

(lē` dŭng`-hwē`), 1923–, Taiwanese agricultural economist and politician, president of Taiwan (1988–2000). Born in Taiwan when it was ruled by Japan, he was educated at Kyoto Imperial, Iowa State, and Cornell universities. A member of the KuomintangKuomintang
[Chin.,=national people's party] (KMT), Chinese and Taiwanese political party. Sung Chiao-jen organized the party in 1912, under the nominal leadership of Sun Yat-sen, to succeed the Revolutionary Alliance.
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, he served on the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction (1957–61) and as a minister without portfolio (1972–78), mayor of Taipei (1978–81), governor of Taiwan province (1981–84), and vice president of Taiwan (1984–88). In Jan., 1988, he succeeded to the presidency at Chiang Ching-kuoChiang Ching-kuo
, 1909–88, eldest son of Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese Nationalist leader, and president of Taiwan. Returning after 12 years in the Soviet Union (1937), he served in minor Chinese government posts until the Nationalist retreat to Taiwan (1949).
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's death. Although originally considered an interim figure, he continued the democratization of Taiwan and in 1996 became its first popularly elected president. Continuing to foster Taiwan's industrial expansion, Lee used the island's economic success to diminish its international isolation. His suggestion in 1999 that Taiwan might consider itself to be a independent nation and not part of China strained relations with the mainland. In Mar., 2000, Lee was forced to resign as head of the Kuomintang after its candidate placed third in the Taiwanese presidential election. After Lee publicly split (2001) with the new leaders of the party, charging them with betraying Taiwan, he was expelled from the Kuomintang. In 2011 he was charged with having embezzled state funds during his presidency.