Chen Chien-jen

Chen Chien-jen[3] OS KSG KHS (Chinese: 陳建仁, born 6 June 1951) is a Taiwanese epidemiologist and politician who has served as the premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) since 2023. He joined the Chen Shui-bian presidential administration in 2003 as leader of the Department of Health, serving through 2005. He later headed the National Science Council between 2006 and 2008. Chen then served as a vice president of Academia Sinica from 2011 to 2015. Later that year, Chen joined Tsai Ing-wen on the Democratic Progressive Party presidential ticket and served as Vice President of the Republic of China from 2016 to 2020. Chen joined the DPP in 2022 and was appointed premier in January 2023.

Chen Chien-jen
Vice President Chen Chien-jen.png
Official portrait as vice president, 2016
Premier of the Republic of China
Assumed office
31 January 2023
PresidentTsai Ing-wen
Vice PremierCheng Wen-tsan
Preceded bySu Tseng-chang
Vice President of the Republic of China
In office
20 May 2016 – 20 May 2020
PresidentTsai Ing-wen
Preceded byWu Den-yih
Succeeded byLai Ching-te
Minister of the National Science Council
In office
25 January 2006 – 19 May 2008
PremierSu Tseng-chang
Chang Chun-hsiung
DeputyWu Tsung-tsong
Yang Hung-duen
Preceded byMaw-Kuen Wu
Succeeded byLee Lou-chuang
Minister of Health
In office
18 May 2003 – 1 February 2005
PremierYu Shyi-kun
Preceded byTwu Shiing-jer
Succeeded byWang Hsiu-hong (Acting)
Hou Sheng-mao
Personal details
Born (1951-06-06) 6 June 1951 (age 71)
Cishan, Kaohsiung County, Taiwan (now Kaohsiung)
Political partyDemocratic Progressive Party (since 2022)
SpouseLo Feng-ping (羅鳳蘋)[1][2]
Alma materNational Taiwan University
Johns Hopkins University
AwardsOrder of Dr. Sun Yat-sen
Chen Chien-jen
Traditional Chinese陳建仁

He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Fu Jen Catholic University before running for the presidential election and served as Fu Jen's Robert J. Ronald Chair Professor after leaving office.[4][5][6]

Early and personal lifeEdit

Chen Chien-jen was born at his family home in Cishan, Kaohsiung County, in 1951,[1] as one of eight children.[7] His father, Chen Hsin-an, served as Kaohsiung County Magistrate from 1954 to 1957.[8] Chen's mother Chen Wei Lien-chih managed a daycare.[7] Chen is married to Lo Fong-ping,[9] whose family is from Nanjing.[10]

Chen Chien-jen is a devout Catholic. Chen and his wife were invited to visit the Vatican several times by popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. He has been invested as a Knight of the Equestrian of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (2010)[11] and a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great (2013).[12] He served on the board of trustees of Fu Jen Catholic University.[13]

Career as researcherEdit

Chen obtained a master's degree in public health from the National Taiwan University, and received his Sc.D in human genetics and epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 1977 and 1982, respectively.[8][14] He began his medical career by researching hepatitis B, and helped raise awareness about vaccination for the disease in Taiwan.[8] Chen further researched on the liver cancer risk of people with hepatitis B.[15] Chen also discovered a link from arsenic to blackfoot disease [zh].[8][16] The arsenic research lead to the revision of international health standards for arsenic exposure.[15] Between 2011 and November 2015,[17] Chen was a vice president of Academia Sinica.[18][19]

Political careerEdit

Chen served as Minister of Health from 2003 to 2005.[20][21] As health minister, he was praised for effectively managing the SARS epidemic through quarantine and screening procedures,[15] despite Taiwan's non-membership in the World Health Organization complicating the coordination of research efforts.[22] His successor Hou Sheng-mao credited Chen with reforming the National Health Insurance program.[23] Chen led the National Science Council from 2006 to 2008.[24]

Vice presidencyEdit

On 16 November 2015, Chen was confirmed as the running mate for Tsai Ing-wen in the 2016 Taiwanese presidential election[25] after media speculation earlier in the month.[26][27] During the campaign, Chen became known by the nickname Brother Da-jen (大仁哥), after a character portrayed by Chen Bolin on the romantic drama In Time with You.[28] Chen is the first Catholic vice presidential nominee in Taiwan.[29] On 16 January 2016, Tsai and Chen won the presidential election in a landslide.[30] Chen took up his post as Vice President on 20 May 2016.[31]

In March 2019, Chen announced that he would not seek a second term as vice president alongside Tsai.[32] Chen received international attention for his role in leading Taiwan's response to the COVID-19 pandemic due to his unique position as both vice president and his epidemiologist background.[33][34] Days before he stepped down from the vice presidency, Chen stated that he would return to the Academia Sinica as a research fellow and thus forgo the pension connected to his political office.[35]

Support for same-sex marriageEdit

On May 17, 2019, the Legislative Yuan approved the same-sex marriage bill, Chen supported it by writing "The Executive Yuan has courageously assumed its responsibility, exercised its utmost wisdom and patience, and continuously communicated and coordinated with the pro and con sides in an effort to reduce social disagreements, proposing a bill that is consistent with the conclusion of the Justice's interpretation of the Constitution and responsive to the majority opinion of the referendum. In the face of the tensions between the pro and con sides, the legislators still uphold the democratic spirit of accommodating diverse opinions and complete the legislative work of the bill smoothly".[36]


In December 2021, Chen applied to join the Democratic Progressive Party, and formally became a member in February 2022.[37][38] In January 2023, he rejoined the Tsai administration as premier of the Republic of China, taking office on January 31.[38][39]

Honours and awardsEdit


  1. ^ a b "Vice President Chen". Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 7 September 2019. Mr. Chen Chien-jen was born in Cishan Township, Kaohsiung County (now merged into Kaohsiung City) in 1951.{...}The Vatican has invited Mr. Chen and his wife Ms. Lo Fong-ping to visit several times, where they have been received by Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
  2. ^ Ku Chuan, Matt Yu, Elizabeth Hsu (1 January 2019). "President sings anthem at New Year's Day flag-hoisting ceremony". Focus Taiwan (in English and Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 7 September 2019. The president arrived at the ceremony venue at 6:20 a.m. accompanied by Chen, Chen's wife Lo Fong-ping (羅鳳蘋), Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Vice President Chen". Office of President Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 12 May 2020. Mr. Chen Chien-jen was born in Cishan Township, Kaohsiung County (now merged into Kaohsiung City) in 1951.
  4. ^ The 18th Session of the Board of Trustees
  5. ^ 輔仁大學學校財團法人董事會第 18 屆第 16 次會議摘要
  6. ^ 輔仁大學醫學院聘請中研院陳建仁院士 擔任第一屆劉建仁神父紀念講座教授
  7. ^ a b "Chen Chien-jen: Vice President of the Republic of China" (PDF). Taiwan Today. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2018.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d Hsu, Elizabeth (16 January 2016). "Chen Chien-jen vows to be more than just figurehead vice president". Central News Agency. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  9. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Hou, Elaine (5 August 2016). "Taiwan's VP to attend Dominican Republic's presidential inauguration". Central News Agency. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  10. ^ Strong, Matthew (26 December 2015). "Chen calls for end to party polarization". Taiwan News. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ "【禮儀】11/14 耶路撒冷聖墓騎士冊封大典". 耶穌會中華省. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  12. ^ "八位新封聖大額我略爵士" (PDF). 天主教會台灣地區主教團. 2013-08-05. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  13. ^ Gaetan, Victor (19 December 2017). "Taiwan's Catholic Church: Quest for National Identity". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  14. ^ Chang, Yun-ping (17 May 2003). "Yu accepts DOH chief's resignation". Taipei Times. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Cyranoski, David (13 January 2016). "Taiwan's SARS hero poised to be vice-president". Nature. 529 (7585): 136–137. Bibcode:2016Natur.529..136C. doi:10.1038/529136a. PMID 26762435. S2CID 4450512.
  16. ^ Tseng, Chin-Hsiao; Chong, Choon-Khim; Tseng, Ching-Ping; Centeno, José A. (February 2007). "Blackfoot Disease in Taiwan: Its Link with Inorganic Arsenic Exposure from Drinking Water". Ambio. 36 (1): 82–84. doi:10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[82:bditil];2. JSTOR 4315790. PMID 17408196. S2CID 32652175.
  17. ^ "DPP vice presidential candidate wants to do more to help young people". Taiwan News. Central News Agency. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  18. ^ Vice President Chien-Jen Chen, Academia Sinica, archived from the original on 2015-11-17, retrieved 2015-11-13
  19. ^ Copper, John F. (2017). Taiwan at a Tipping Point: The Democratic Progressive Party's Return to Power. Lexington Books. p. 140. ISBN 9781498569705.
  20. ^ Wu, Debby (18 May 2003). "New chief takes over at the DOH". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  21. ^ Wu, Debby (19 May 2003). "Tough times lie ahead for health chief". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  22. ^ Cyranoski, David (17 April 2003). "Taiwan left isolated in fight against SARS". Nature. 422 (652): 652. Bibcode:2003Natur.422Q.652C. doi:10.1038/422652a. PMC 7095487. PMID 12700727.
  23. ^ "Officials receive awards". Taipei Times. 29 March 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  24. ^ Chiu, Yu-Tzu (23 January 2006). "Lu offers some advice to new Cabinet team". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  25. ^ Hsu, Stacy (17 November 2015). "DPP's Tsai picks Chen Chien-jen". Taipei Times. p. 1.
  26. ^ 副手是陳建仁?蔡英文:宣布了就知道 (in Chinese), United Daily News
  27. ^ "Academia Sinica VP confirmed as running mate of Tsai Ing-wen". Focus Taiwan. Central News Agency. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  28. ^ Tseng, Wei-chen (20 December 2015). "Reporter's Notebook: DPP's Chen in demand, KMT's Wang shunned". Taipei Times. p. 3.
  29. ^ "Taiwan elects first Catholic vice president". Union of Catholic Asian News. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  30. ^ Loa, Iok-sin; Hsu, Stacy; Gerber, Abraham (17 January 2016). "ELECTIONS: Madam President". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  31. ^ Austin Ramzy: Tsai Ing-wen Sworn In as Taiwan's President, as China Watches Closely. In: The New York Times, 19 May 2016.
  32. ^ Yeh, Su-ping; Su, Lung-chi; Wang, Flor (29 March 2019). "Vice president declares he won't run for second term with Tsai". Central News Agency. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Taiwan's weapon against coronavirus: An epidemiologist as vice president". Today. 10 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  34. ^ Hernández, Javier C.; Horton, Chris (9 May 2020). "Taiwan's Weapon Against Coronavirus: An Epidemiologist as Vice President". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  35. ^ "VP to give up pension, return to research". Taipei Times. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  36. ^ "陳建仁 Chen Chien-Jen on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.[user-generated source]
  37. ^ "DPP welcomes membership of former independent VP Chen Chien-jen". Central News Agency. 22 February 2022. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  38. ^ a b Kao, Evelyn; Chen, Christie (25 January 2023). "Ex-VP Chen Chien-jen expected to be named new premier Friday". Central News Agency. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  39. ^ Shan, Shelley (26 January 2022). "Ex-vice president to be next premier". Taipei Times. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  40. ^ a b 2005 Presidential Science Prize – Life Sciences – Academician Chien-Jen Chen (PDF), Ministry of Science and Technology, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04, retrieved 2015-11-18
  41. ^ a b Raphaël Zbinden : „Un chevalier catholique à la tête de Taïwan",, 20. Januar 2016 (fr.)
  42. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Kao, Evelyn (3 May 2017). "Vice president, WTO representative elected to NAS". Central News Agency. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  43. ^ Yeh, Su-ping; Ko, Lin (18 May 2020). "VP awarded Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen with Grand Cordon". Central News Agency. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  44. ^ 影音》中山大學沙灘畢典 前副總統陳建仁獲頒名譽博士
  45. ^ Resignations and Appointments, 30.07.2021, Holy See Press Office

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of the National Science Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice President of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Preceded by Premier of the Republic of China
Party political offices
Preceded by DPP nominee for Vice President of the Republic of China
Succeeded by