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Frank Hsieh

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Frank Hsieh

Frank Hsieh
Hsieh Chang-ting
Chair of the Democratic Progressive Party
In office
April 20, 2000 – July 21, 2002
Preceded by Lin Yi-hsiung
Succeeded by Chen Shui-bian
Premier of the Republic of China
In office
February 1, 2005 – January 25, 2006
President Chen Shui-bian
Preceded by Yu Shyi-kun
Succeeded by Su Tseng-chang
24th Mayor of Kaohsiung
In office
December 25, 1998 – February 1, 2005
Preceded by Wu Den-yih
Succeeded by Chen Chi-mai (acting)
Yeh Chu-lan (acting)
Chen Chu
Personal details
Born (1946-05-18) May 18, 1946
Dadaocheng, Taiwan
Nationality  Taiwan
Political party Democratic Progressive Party
Spouse(s) Yu Fang-chih
Alma mater National Taiwan University (LL.B.)
Kyoto University (M.Jur.) & (ABD)
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer
Religion Taoist[1]

Frank Hsieh Chang-ting (traditional Chinese: 謝長廷; simplified Chinese: 谢长廷; pinyin: Xiè Chángtíng; Wade-Giles: Hsieh Ch'ang T'ing; Pe̍h-oē-jī: Siā Tiông-têng or Chiā Tiông-têng; born May 18, 1946 in Tataocheng, Taipei, Taiwan) is a Taiwanese politician of the Democratic Progressive Party in the Republic of China. He was the mayor of Kaohsiung City until his appointment as President of the Executive Yuan by president Chen Shui-bian on February 1, 2005. He announced his resignation from the post of premier on January 17, 2006. Hsieh was the DPP nominee in the 2008 presidential election and was defeated by Ma Ying-jeou.


  • Early life 1
  • Rise in politics 2
  • Kaohsiung mayoralty 3
  • Premiership and aftermath 4
  • 2008 presidential campaign 5
  • Cross-strait relations 6
    • 2012 Visit to China 6.1
    • Constitutions with different interpretations 6.2
    • Hong Kong cross-strait forum 6.3
  • Personal life 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Hsieh received his Bachelor of Laws degree from National Taiwan University. He also received a master's degree and then completed doctoral coursework (all but dissertation) in jurisprudence from Kyoto University. He was a practicing attorney from 1969 to 1981, serving as a defense attorney in the martial courts following the Kaohsiung Incident of 1980.

Rise in politics

Hsieh was one of the founding members of the Democratic Progressive Party, was the one who proposed its current name, and served as its chairman from June 2000 to 2002. A two-time Taipei City councilor from 1981 to 1988, and a member of the Legislative Yuan from 1989 to 1995, Hsieh ran in the 1996 presidential as a vice-presidential candidate with Peng Ming-min on the DPP ticket. They finished second with 21.1% of the vote.

1996 Republic of China Presidential Election Result
President Candidate Vice President Candidate Party Votes %
Lee Teng-hui Lien Chan Kuomintang 5,813,699 54.0
Peng Ming-min Frank Hsieh Democratic Progressive Party 2,274,586 21.1
Lin Yang-kang Hau Pei-tsun Independent 1,603,790 14.9
Chen Li-an Wang Ching-feng Independent 1,074,044 9.9
Invalid/blank votes 117,160
Total 10,883,279 100

Kaohsiung mayoralty

In a dramatic comeback to the surprise of many observers, Hsieh defeated the Kuomintang incumbent and won the Kaohsiung City mayoral election in 1998. His administration focused on improving water qualities in surrounding rivers (the most reputable of which included the Love River) as well as a general overhaul of the port of Kaohsiung. He was also largely responsible for the establishment of Kaohsiung MRT. After a slow start, Hsieh's performance as mayor began to consistently receive high approval rates and became a leading political figure in Southern Taiwan, DPP's political base. He was re-elected again for a four-year term in 2002.

2002 Kaohsiung City Mayoral Election Result
Party # Candidate Votes Percentage
Independent 1 Shih Ming-te 8,750 1.13%
Independent 2 Chang Po-ya 13,479 1.75%
Independent 3 Huang Tian-sheng (黃天生) 1,998 0.26%
Kuomintang 4 Huang Jun-ying (黃俊英) 361,546 46.82%
Democratic Progressive Party 5 Frank Hsieh 386,384 50.04%
Total 779,911 100.00%
Voter turnout 71.38%

Premiership and aftermath

In February 2005, Hsieh was appointed premier, forcing him to leave his post as mayor of Kaohsiung, where Chen Chi-mai, a leading member of then President Chen's faction, succeeded him as acting mayor.

Hsieh was forced to resign as premier in the aftermath of the 2005 "Three-in-One" elections in which the KMT defeated the DPP in a landslide.

As the DPP candidate for the 2006 Taipei Mayoral election, Hsieh lost the race to KMT candidate Hau Lung-pin by 166,216 votes (12.92%). Hsieh earned significant goodwill from within the DPP in this campaign because Taipei City was considered an almost unbreakable KMT stronghold and most major DPP politicians passed on the offer to run, so Hsieh's candidacy amounted to "take one for the team".

2006 Taipei City Mayoral Election Result
No Candidate Party Votes %
1 Li Ao Independent 7,795 0.61%
2 Clara Chou[2] Taiwan Solidarity Union 3,372 0.26%
3 Frank Hsieh Democratic Progressive Party 525,869 40.89%
4 James Soong[3] Independent 53,281 4.14%
5 Hau Lung-pin Kuomintang 692,085 53.81%
6 Ke Tsi-hai (柯賜海) Independent 3,687 0.29%

In February 2007, he led the Taiwanese delegation to the 55th annual United States National Prayer Breakfast[4] in Washington DC, hosted by US Congressional Committee with dignitaries including President George W. Bush.

2008 presidential campaign

Hsieh was frequently considered to be a leading contender for the DPP nomination in the 2008 presidential election, and formally announced his intention to run in the election on February 16. Hsieh was the second to formally announce candidacy after former-KMT chairman Ma Ying-Jeou, and the first from the Democratic Progressive Party. He won 45% of the DPP primary votes[5] and won the nomination, after the pending straw poll to be conducted May 9–11 was cancelled after his three primary opponents all conceded defeat.[6] In July 2007, Frank Hsieh went on a trip to the United States called the trip of "Love and Trust" (「愛與信任」之旅).[7] In September 2007, Hsieh openly declared that he was running for the presidency of the State of Taiwan (台灣國), saying that "recogniz[ing] ourselves (the Taiwanese people) as a nation first and then fight[ing] for what we want during negotiations with other countries" is important.[8]

2008 presidential campaign logo

Hsieh has been granted many Taiwanese aboriginal names by many indigenous tribe leaders during his visits to the tribes, such as Tin Kei in Amis, V'oyu in Tsou, Hayung in Atayal, and Shaman Manida in Tao.[9]

Regarding Ma Ying-jeou's idea of a "cross-strait common market," Hsieh states that if Taiwan only focuses on the economy, it will end up like Hong Kong and Macau, whose only goal in life is to make money.[10] Hsieh believes that improving the economy is as important as preserving national dignity, and that the goal of economic development is more than just making money, but it is also improving the happiness of people.

Following the DPP's poor performance in the 2008 Legislative election, Hsieh replaced Chen Shui-bian as chairman of the DPP.

In January 2008, Hsieh accused candidate Ma Ying-Jeou of having a United States green card. After investigations, it was revealed that one of Ma's sisters and one of his two daughters are both US citizens. Hsieh also publicly expressed that if Ma shows him the official document of his withdrawal of the green card, Hsieh would withdraw from the election.[11]

On March 22, 2008, Hsieh lost to the Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou, ending eight years of DPP rule. Hsieh had 5,445,239 votes, 41.55%; against Ma's 7,658,724, 58.45%.

The election was devastating to Hsieh and the DPP because he lost by a wider-than-expected margin of 17%. Hsieh had stated that if he lost this election, he would not run for office again.[12] He resigned from the DPP chairmanship to take responsibility for the defeat. Tsai Ing-wen was elected as the new chairperson of the DPP.

In July 2010, Hsieh stood for the DPP's central committee standing membership election and won. He subsequently became a de facto manager of DPP's Taichung mayoralty campaign.

 Summary of the 22 March 2008 Republic of China presidential election results
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Kuomintang Ma Ying-jeou Vincent Siew Wan-chang 7,659,014 58.45%
Democratic Progressive Party Frank Hsieh Chang-ting Su Tseng-chang 5,444,949 41.55%
Total 13,103,963 100.00%

Cross-strait relations

2012 Visit to China

On October 2012, Hsieh made a groundbreaking 5-day visit to China as the highest-ranking official of the DPP ever to do such step. However, this visit was a private visit in his capacity as a non politician. He visited Xiamen, Dongshan Islands and Beijing on 4–8 October.[13]

He met with Dai Bingguo, the State Councilor of the PRC, Chen Yunlin, the President of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Wang Yi, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the PRC.

Although both sides agreed on the One-China policy in governing the Cross-Strait relations, Hsieh prefer to have a new consensus of the so-called constitutions with different interpretations (憲法各表) instead of the 1992 consensus.

Constitutions with different interpretations

In mid April 2013 while in the United States, Hsieh reiterated again his 'constitutions with different interpretations' initiative for cross-strait relations between DPP and the CPC, and urged Beijing to accept difference across the Taiwan Strait for both sides being able to facilitate dialogue.[14]

Hong Kong cross-strait forum

In end of June 2013, Hsieh attended a 2-day forum on Taiwan Reform Foundation and Beijing-based Taiwan Research Institute. Before the forum, Hsieh attended a dinner hosted by Tung Chee Hwa, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong on Friday evening.[15]

Hsieh said that mutual trust between DPP and Beijing was important and that all of the bilateral exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should benefit the public and address their needs. He also added that rebalancing cross-strait interactions is important as well. He once again reiterated his 'constitutions with different interpretations' view that Taipei and Beijing can coexist if both sides respect each other's constitutional legitimacy.[16]

Personal life

Hsieh is married to Yu Fang-chih (游芳枝);[17] together, they have a daughter[18][19] and an adopted son.

Hsieh is a seventh generation native Taiwanese of Hoklo descent—his ancestor, Hsieh Guangyu (謝光玉) migrated from Tongshan, a village in Fujian province's Zhao'an County (now part of Dongshan County).[20][21]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Despite Chou's expulsion from the Taiwan Solidarity Union on November 9, 2006, the Taiwan Solidarity Union cannot withdraw their recommendation for Chou under Republic of China's Public Officials Election and Recall Law. She would still contest the elections as a TSU candidate. (ETtoday Report)
  3. ^ James Soong is Chairman of the People's First Party at the time of the elections, but entered the elections as an independent.
  4. ^ "Former Premier Chang-ting Hsieh…Will Attend the 55th Annual National Prayer Breakfast of the United States…", Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (TAIWAN) , 2007/1/29
  5. ^ "Frank Hsieh wins DPP primaries", China Post, 2007/5/7
  6. ^ "Hsieh confirmed as DPP candidate", China Post, 2007/5/8
  7. ^ Liou De-tsang, "謝長廷啟程赴美訪問 定位為愛與信任之旅", The Central News Agency, 2007/07/20
  8. ^ Mo Yan-chih Ma attacks Hsieh over 'Republic of Taiwan', Taipei Times, 9/6/2007
  9. ^ 謝長廷衝票房 上山下海玩變裝
  10. ^ Ko Shu-ling "Hsieh clarifies stance on investment from China", Taipei Times, October 19, 2007
  11. ^ Presidential election 2008: 6 days to go: Chen vows to quit if Ma proves he has no green card, Taipei Times, March 16, 2008
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links

  • Personal website
  • Personal blog
  • 2008 campaign website
Government offices
Preceded by
Wu Den-yih
Mayor of Kaohsiung
Succeeded by
Chen Chi-mai
Preceded by
Yu Shyi-kun
President of the Executive Yuan
Succeeded by
Su Tseng-chang
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lin Yi-hsiung
Chairperson of the DPP
Succeeded by
Chen Shui-bian
Preceded by
Chen Shui-bian
Chairperson of the DPP

Succeeded by
Tsai Ing-wen
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