Taiwanese politicians grieve over deceased pro-Taiwan French lawmaker

Jean-Francois Cesarini, chairman of France-Taiwan friendship group in French parliament, died from cancer

Jean-Francois Cesarini (Left) and President Tsai Ing-wen. (Presidential Office photo)

Jean-Francois Cesarini (Left) and President Tsai Ing-wen. (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has, among other Taiwanese politicians, offered condolences to the family of Jean-François Cesarini, after the French lawmaker and staunch supporter of the Taiwan-France relationship died from cancer on Sunday (March 29).

“My sincere condolences to the family of Jean-Francois Cesarini, chairman of the National Assembly’s France-Taiwan Friendship Group & an outspoken supporter of Taiwan’s international participation,” tweeted Tsai on Monday (March 30). “He will always be remembered as a man of character, courage, and conviction,” she added.

Cesarini passed away on Sunday at the age of 49 after a long fight against cancer starting June 2017, said an official statement. His death is unrelated to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has swept through Europe since February.

Cesarini “was a tremendous supporter of the country [Taiwan] & worked tirelessly to strengthen bilateral relations,” tweeted Taiwan’s foreign ministry. “He’ll be sorely missed.”

Via a statement, the ministry said it would continue working closely with the friendship group toward promoting the relationship between Taiwan and France. Cesarini had voiced his staunch support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization over the years, the ministry said.

Earlier in March Cesarini shared a French report on Taiwan’s coronavirus preventive measures, praising the country’s rigor and innovation as being always inspiring.

In 2018, Cesarini invited then-Legislative Yuan Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) to the National Assembly, making him the first Taiwanese speaker to have visited the French parliament. He also led parliamentary delegations to Taiwan for three consecutive years, beginning in 2017.

Su expressed shock and grief over the death of Cesarini. “What he [Cesarini] has done for Taiwan deserves the respect of the entire Taiwanese population,” he said via Facebook.