Meaning of CH'EN SHUI-PIAN in English

born February 18, 1951, Tainan county, Taiwan also spelled Chen Shui-bian Taiwanese politician who was a prominent pro-independence leader. He became president of Taiwan in 2000. Born into a poor farming family, Ch'en won a scholarship to National Taiwan University, graduating with highest honours from its law faculty. Entering private practice in the mid-1970s, he became one of the island's leading attorneys. His first encounter with politics came when he defended eight protesters who were opposed to the Kuomintang (KMT), the island's ruling party. Ch'en lost the case, but thereafter his name was linked with the opposition movement. Ch'en ran for public office in 1981 and won a seat on the Taipei City Council. In the mid-1980s he spent eight months in prison on charges of libeling a KMT official. He subsequently joined the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) and advanced through the party ranks. A member of the DDP Central Standing Committee from 1987 to 1989, Ch'en later served in the Taiwanese legislature (1989-94) before being elected mayor of Taipei in 1994. Although he delivered on promises to fight corruption, crack down on the city's sex industry, reduce crime, and raise the city's international profile, his autocratic style contributed to his defeat in his bid for reelection in 1998. The loss freed Ch'en to pursue the DDP's presidential nomination in 2000 and, according to his advisers, taught him to strike a more conciliatory tone as a politician. His campaign, which stressed independence, struck a responsive chord with voters, and he defeated KMT candidate James Soong, ending that party's 55-year rule of Taiwan. In October 2000, following through on one of his campaign promises, Ch'en halted construction of a nuclear power plant. The move angered the KMT, which still controlled the legislature, and its members threatened to hold a recall vote. In the ensuing conflict, the country's economy faltered as investor confidence waned. Ch'en finally relented in February 2001 and announced that work on the power plant would resume. His decision was unpopular with members of the DDP, who also disapproved of his stance on independence. In the months following his election, Ch'en was seen as distancing himself from Taiwanese statehood as he vowed not to seek independence as long as China did not threaten to attack the island.

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