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Shen Chun-shan

Shen Chun-shan
Chinese 沈君山

Shen Chun-shan (born 29 August 1932) is a retired academic in Taiwan, most noted for his position as the former head of National Tsing Hua University.[1][2] He is known as one of the "four princes of Taiwan" along with Chen Li-an, Fredrick Chien, and Lien Chan, all of whose fathers attained prominence in politics prior to their sons' successes.[3]

Family background and early career

Shen was born in Nanjing; his paternal family roots are in Yuyao, Zhejiang. His father Shen Chung-han[fn 1] was an agricultural expert.[3] Shen's parents were both highly educated and had studied in the United States; his maternal grandfather also went to France as an exchange student. A propensity to strokes runs in his family; his maternal grandfather died of a stroke in his 30s while in France, and his mother died of the same cause when the young Shen himself was only 9. The young Shen followed his father to Taiwan a few years later in 1949.[4] Shen's father rose to further political prominence in Taiwan, eventually becoming the chairman of the Council of Agriculture. [3]

Shen graduated from National Taiwan University's physics department in 1955.[5] In 1957, he left Taiwan for the United States, to enroll in a doctoral program in physics from the University of Maryland, from which he graduated in 1961.[2] His dissertation was entitled "Dispersion relation for the electron impact width and shift of an isolated line".[6] He went on teach at Princeton University and Purdue University as well as taking up a position at NASA.[2]

Return to Taiwan

Shen returned to Taiwan in 1973 to take up a post as the head of National Tsing Hua University's sciences faculty, at a salary only one-eighth that which he received in the United States, earning him praise as a "model of patriotism" for his actions.[4] While maintaining his teaching position, he also served as the head of various semi-official think tanks; he took a break from these politically related activities in 1984 to become the head of Ing Chang-ki's Ing Foundation for the promotion of Go and to aid in setting up a molecular biology research center at Tsing Hua.[7]

Shen formally returned to politics in 1988 with his naming as Minister without Portfolio in the Executive Yuan, an appointment which drew surprise at the time because he was not then a member of the Kuomintang.[7] He later served as a member of the Central Election Committee, an arbitrator of the Academia Sinica, and most prominently with the National Unification Council, as a member of which he made three visits to Zhongnanhai to meet with People's Republic of China leaders.[3][4][5] Though Shen generally maintained nuanced views on the political status of Taiwan and the issue of Chinese reunification, during these meetings he repeatedly pointed out to PRC president Jiang Zemin that "more than 80% of Taiwan's people would not accept unification under a central government led by the Communist Party of China",[fn 2] that "the two governments (on either side of the Taiwan strait) are a reality, while 'one China' is not",[fn 3] and that "In Taiwan, the number of people who consider reunification as their highest value, and who pursue reunification for its own sake, is becoming smaller and smaller."[fn 4][8]

Shen took up his post as the president of National Tsing Hua University in 1993; he retired from that position and from academic life in 1997.[1]

Other activities

Outside of his academic and political work, Shen enjoys playing Go and bridge.[9] He was a member of the Republic of China team that finished second in the 1969 Bermuda Bowl world teams bridge championship, a particularly notable success given that he and team-mate Frank Huang had never previously played as partners.[10][11] He is ranked as a 6th-dan go player.[12] In 1978, he got Harvey Feldman, then Director of the United States Department of State's Office of Republic of China Affairs, to reveal over a game of Go the timetable for the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations which would end formal relations between Washington and Taipei.[13] Novelist Jin Yong introduced Shen to world Go champion and People's Republic of China citizen Nie Weiping in 1984 in Hong Kong; the two would go on to become good friends through their mutual interest in both Go and bridge, though they did not have many opportunities to meet.[14] In 1991, they were able to integrate their bridge play into cross-straits diplomacy, entering the 1991 Far East Championships in Guangzhou as partners.[15] 9th-dan professional Go player Cho U also credits Shen with teaching him the game as a child; the two first played when Cho was seven.[12]

Shen started the first overseas chapter of the University of Maryland's alumni association, and was a member of the first group elected to their Alumni Hall of Fame when it was established in 1995.[2][16]

Strokes and coma

Shen's health deteriorated further after his retirement; he suffered his first stroke in June 1999. In September 2005, a year and a half after the 2004 publication of the first portion of his memoirs, he suffered his second stroke.[4][17] However, even after his second stroke, he continued writing; his series of biographies of five Go masters Go Seigen, Minoru Kitani, Rin Kaiho, Cho Hunhyun, and Nie Weiping was published in June 2006.[18] On 6 July 2007, he suffered his third stroke, involving intracranial hemorrhage; he was hospitalised at Hsinchu's Mackay Memorial Hospital.[19] After surgery, his condition stabilised, but he was left in a coma. Later in the year, he was transferred to Wanfang Hospital. Doctors there assessed his condition as roughly nine points on the Glasgow Coma Scale, meaning that his brain was still basically in good condition, and there remained a possibility that he might regain awareness.[20] In early 2008, he showed some response to voices, and his condition was reportedly continuing to improve.[21] However, as of September 2012, he remained comatose.[22]

Shen has had many famous visitors while in his coma. In October 2009, Nie Weiping travelled to Taiwan to see Shen, in what he described as a "final visit".[14] Chi Cheng also comes to sing to Shen every so often, not knowing whether he can hear her or not; she and her former Tsing Hua professor visited Shen in January 2010 while in Hsinchu.[23] Ma Ying-jeou paid a visit in February 2011, and recited poetry for Shen, to which Shen reportedly showed some response.[24]

Minor planet

In May 2009, the International Astronomical Union announced that they had formally accepted the suggestion to name a minor planet discovered in April 2006 after Shen, making its official designation 202605 Shenchunshan.[25][26] The Lulin Observatory astronomers who first found the minor planet, Yang Ting-chang[fn 5] of the National Central University in Taiwan and Ye Quanzhi[fn 6] of Zhongshan University in Guangdong, had suggested the name in Shen's honour. Shen was the second Tsing Hua president to have a minor planet named for him, following his successor Frank Shu.[27]


  • Shen, Chun-shan (March 2004), 《浮生後記》 [Memoirs of a Floating Life] (in Chinese), Bookzone, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (September 2005), 《浮生再記》 [Memoirs of a Floating Life 2] (in Chinese), Bookzone, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (September 2005), 《浮生三記》 [Memoirs of a Floating Life 3] (in Chinese), Bookzone, ISBN  
  • The series 《沈君山說棋王故事》 (Shen Chun-shan Tells the Stories of Kings of Go):
  • Shen, Chun-shan (June 2006), 《吳清源》 [Go Seigen] (in Chinese), Boss, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (June 2006), 《木谷實》 [Kitani Minoru] (in Chinese), Boss, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (June 2006), 《林海峰》 [Rin Kaiho] (in Chinese), Boss, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (June 2006), 《曹薰鉉》 [Cho Hunhyun] (in Chinese), Boss, ISBN  
  • Shen, Chun-shan (June 2006), 《聶衛平》 [Nie Weiping] (in Chinese), Boss, ISBN  


  1. ^ 沈宗瀚
  2. ^ 「百分之八十以上台灣人民反對接受一個共產黨領導的中央政府的統一」
  3. ^ 「『兩府』是一個事實,『一國』倒是虛的」
  4. ^ 「在台灣把統一當做最高價值,為統一而統一的人,可以說愈來愈少了」
  5. ^ 楊庭彰
  6. ^ 葉泉志


  1. ^ a b "沈君山校長/President Shen Chun-shan", Digital Archives (in Chinese) (National Tsing Hua University), retrieved 2008-01-03 
  2. ^ a b c d Hall of Fame, University of Maryland Alumni Association, 2007, retrieved 2008-01-05 
  3. ^ a b c d Liu, Lingbin (2007-04-19), """台湾“四大公子”的人生传奇/The legendary lives of Taiwan's "Four Princes, United Daily News (in Chinese), retrieved 2008-01-05 
  4. ^ a b c d Huang, Jingtao (2007-10-11), 風流沈君山 兩岸棋翩翩, Southern Metropolitan Weekend Edition (in Chinese), retrieved 2008-01-03 
  5. ^ a b "沈君山先生简介/Profile of Mr. Shen Chun-shan", Sina Finance (in Chinese), 2006-05-18, retrieved 2008-01-04 
  6. ^ Shen, Chun-shan (1961), Dispersion relation for the electron impact width and shift of an isolated line, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, OCLC 18141372 
  7. ^ a b Hsiao, Jong-huei (November 1988), "無黨籍的政務委員沈君山/Minister Without Portfolio--or Party--Shen Chun-shan", Sinorama Magazine, retrieved 2009-05-13 . Note: the article is presented in side-by-side bilingual format, but the English translation is very incomplete and leaves out large portions of the content.
  8. ^ Wang, Chien-chuang (2009-10-22), "凱撒的面具-馬英九身邊少了一個沈君山/The Mask of Caesar: Ma Ying-jeou needs a Shen Chun-shan by his side", China Times, retrieved 2009-11-04 
  9. ^ "沈君山:追寻生命的无穷可能性/Shen Chun-shan: Pursuing life's limitless possibilities", Sina News (in Chinese), 2004-08-13, retrieved 2008-01-03 
  10. ^ Goren, Charles (1969-07-21), "Mystic Wei Of The East", Sports Illustrated, retrieved 2009-03-12 
  11. ^ Truscott, Alan (1981-12-08), "Bridge: Video Terminals Are Used In Two Matches in Taiwan", The New York Times, retrieved 2009-03-12 
  12. ^ a b Lin, Ying-che; Chen, Wan-chien; Liang, Yu-fang (2006-05-02), """張栩拜師 沈君山只敢當乾爹/Cho U pays his respects to his teacher; Shen Chun-shan only dares to call himself "godfather, United Daily News, retrieved 2009-11-04 
  13. ^ Fu, Yi-ping (2009-02-26), "中美斷交前… 費浩偉與沈君山的一盤棋/Before the end of ROC-US relations: the Go match between Harvey Feldman and Shen Chun-shan", United Daily News, retrieved 2009-08-19 
  14. ^ a b """聶衛平赴台探望沈君山 好友成植物人/Nie Weiping goes to Taiwan to visit Shen Chun-shan; his good friend has become a "vegetable, China Review News, 2009-10-12, retrieved 2009-10-29 
  15. ^ Truscott, Alan (1991-02-17), "Bridge", The New York Times, retrieved 2009-03-12 
  16. ^ Alumni Hall of Fame, University of Maryland Alumni Association, 2007, retrieved 2008-01-05 
  17. ^ "沈君山新書《浮生後記》 記錄30年兩岸民主發展/Shen Chun-shan's new book 'Memoirs of a Floating Life' records thirty years of democratic development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait", Eastern Television (in Chinese), 2004-04-07, retrieved 2008-01-05 
  18. ^ Xuan, Huifeng (2007-01-08), "前台灣清華大學校長沈君山:很想去北京看奧運會/Shen Chun-shan, former head of Taiwan's Tsing Hua University: I want to go to Beijing to see the Olympics", People's Daily (in Chinese), retrieved 2008-01-04 
  19. ^ Huang, Weihan (2007-07-07), "沈君山三度中風 新竹馬偕發病危通知/Shen Chun-shan suffers third stroke; in critical condition at Mackay", Eastern Television (in Chinese), retrieved 2008-01-05 
  20. ^ "新竹清华前校长沈君山昏迷不醒/Former Hsinchu Tsing Hua University President Shen Chun-shan Remains in Coma", Sina News, 2008-01-07, retrieved 2009-03-12 
  21. ^ Lin, Chin-hsiu (2008-03-22), "沈君山對聲光有反應了 是否表示病情有進步?/Shen Chun-shan responding to voices; does this mean his condition is improving?", United Evening News: A11, retrieved 2009-03-12 
  22. ^ 李坤建 (2012-09-24), "沈君山、陳力俊合影 師生情深", China Times, retrieved 2012-10-09 
  23. ^ Li, Ching-lin (2010-01-21), "沈君山病無起色 紀政哼歌喚/Shen Chun-shan's illness shows no improvement; Chi Cheng hums songs for him", United Daily News, retrieved 2010-03-02 
  24. ^ "馬英九探望前台灣清華校長沈君山 分享當年送別詩", Ta Kung Pao, 2011-02-28, retrieved 2011-06-13 
  25. ^ Kuo, Shu-min (2009-05-09), "「沈君山」小行星 3年前發現 台灣目前看不到/Minor planet 'Shenchunshan' discovered three years ago; can't be seen from Taiwan now", China Times, retrieved 2009-05-13 
  26. ^ Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (200001)-(205000), Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union, 2009-05-07, retrieved 2009-05-13 
  27. ^ Chen, Chih-chung (2009-05-09), "'"天文研究最高榮耀 小行星命名「沈君山」/Highest honour for an astronomer; Minor planet named 'Shenchunshan, China Times, retrieved 2009-05-13 
Academic offices
Preceded by
R. C. T. Lee
President of National Tsing Hua University
Succeeded by
Chen Xinxiong
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