About People First Party presidential candidate James Soong

About  People First Party presidential candidate James Soong

“The old soldier never dies. They just bear the country, honor, and responsibility in mind.” Current Position: PFP Chairperson Date of Birth: March 16, 1942 Family Background: James Soong was born in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province in mainland China and fled to Taiwan with his parents at the age of seven in 1949 following the Nationalist defeat in the Chinese Civil war. His father, Soong Ta, was a career military officer loyal to R.O.C. President Chiang Kai-shek and was once the highest-ranking general officer in the Nationalist Army. Soong Ta was said to have reluctantly accepted James Soong’s devotion to political studies and consequent venture into politics as he had witnessed the turmoil and struggles played out within the political arena. Education: Soong received a Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Diplomacy at National Chengchi University in 1964. He traveled to the United States for graduate school in 1966 and returned in 1974 after receiving Master’s and Doctorate degrees in political science from the University of California in Berkeley and Georgetown University respectively. In his first year in the U.S., Soong married Viola Chen in San Francisco. They later had a son and a daughter. In this file photo, Viola Chen is dressed up for the wedding ceremony in San Francisco. Early Career: After returning from the U.S., James Soong began his political career as secretary to then-Premier Chiang Ching-kuo (later President) and rose to prominence as director-general of the now-defunct Government Information Office from 1979 to 1984. During his five-and-a-half-year term in office, democratic movements were only beginning to blossom, although magazines and publications criticizing the government were strictly banned. Meanwhile, Taiwanese Hokkien-speaking and Pootehi (traditional puppet) theater were all prohibited, as only Mandarin was allowed to be spoken. Soong was also blamed for press restrictions at the time, as exemplified by the GIO’s interference in the reported death of democracy activist Chen Wen-chen, a story covered by Taiwan-based Associated Press reporter Tina Chou. Soong’s PFP later refuted the claims against him, saying Soong was the most open-minded GIO chief who launched legislative amendments to promote Hokkien programs and gave a green light to the pro-democracy “dangwai (outside the KMT)” magazines and newspapers to resume publication after being banned with a mere change of the name, thus secretly giving the “dangwai” convenience to thrive. Weathering the political storm: After leaving his post as GIO head, Soong later took leading roles in the KMT. In 1988, he strongly supported Lee Teng-hui to become KMT chairman despite tensions among various factions. A strong partnership between Soong and Lee was said to have created tailwinds for Soong at the time. In 1994, Soong was nominated and elected by the people as governor of the now-defunct Taiwan Provincial Government with more than 4 million votes in its first-time democratic election. Although the Taiwan Provincial Government underwent streamlining in 1998, it was consequently abolished as a separate administrative power. Soong was then stripped of his political power. Election Campaign Experience: In 2000, Soong failed to be nominated as KMT presidential candidate. He then decided to quit the party and subsequently joined the race as an independent contender, but the Chung Hsing Bills scandal – a corruption case allegedly involving James Soong – hampered his popularity. Having lost the election to the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian by a small margin, Soong later went on to establish the People First Party as chairperson. In 2004, Soong joined the presidential race for the second time by partnering with KMT chairperson Lien Chan, but only to fail once again by a slightly smaller margin of 0.2 percent of the votes. In 2011, Soong launched his third presidential campaign but won a far smaller number of votes compared to his first presidential election in 2000. Soong was dealt a huge blow by the death of his wife and soul-mate, Viola Chen, due to cancer in 2012. Fourth Presidential Campaign: On August 6, 2015, Soong announced his bid for the presidency. In his campaign theme titled “unite to find solutions for all” on the basis of a neutral political point of view, Soong proposed a coalition government and said he will deliver a state-of-the-nation speech at the parliament every year after winning the election. The official campaign website for the presidential campaign

Updated : 2021-03-05 06:52 GMT+08:00