Frank Hsieh Chang-ting (Chinese: 謝長廷; pinyin: Xiè Chángtíng; Wade–Giles: Hsieh⁴ Chʻang²-tʻing²; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Siā Tiông-têng / Chiā Tiông-têng; born May 18, 1946) is a Taiwanese politician and former defense attorney. A cofounder of the Democratic Progressive Party, he has served on the Taipei City Council, the Legislative Yuan, as the mayor of Kaohsiung City, and as the Premier of the Republic of China under president Chen Shui-bian. Hsieh was the DPP nominee in the 2008 presidential election and was defeated by Ma Ying-jeou. Hsieh is currently the head of the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations.

Frank Hsieh
Premier Frank Hsieh
Taiwan Representative to Japan
Assumed office
June 9, 2016
Preceded byShen Ssu-tsun
Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party
In office
April 20, 2000 – July 21, 2002
Preceded byLin Yi-hsiung
Succeeded byChen Shui-bian
January 12, 2008 – May 20, 2008
Preceded byChen Shui-bian
Succeeded byTsai Ing-wen
Premier of the Republic of China
In office
February 1, 2005 – January 25, 2006
PresidentChen Shui-bian
Preceded byYu Shyi-kun
Succeeded bySu Tseng-chang
24th Mayor of Kaohsiung
In office
December 25, 1998 – February 1, 2005
Preceded byWu Den-yih
Succeeded byChen Chi-mai (acting)
Yeh Chu-lan (acting)
Chen Chu
Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
February 1, 1993 – January 31, 1996
ConstituencyTaipei 2
In office
February 1, 1990 – January 31, 1993
ConstituencyTaipei 1
Member of the Taipei City Council
In office
Personal details
Born (1946-05-18) May 18, 1946 (age 77)
Taipei, Taiwan Province, Republic of China
Nationality Taiwan (Republic of China)
Political partyDemocratic Progressive Party
SpouseYu Fang-chih
Alma materNational Taiwan University (LL.B.)
Kyoto University (M.Jur.) & (ABD)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Dadaocheng, Taipei, in 1946, Hsieh was a gymnast in high school and worked as a food vendor before college.[1][2] He received a Bachelor of Laws degree from National Taiwan University. Hsieh then obtained a master's degree and later completed doctoral coursework (all but dissertation) in jurisprudence at Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University in Japan.[3] He was a practicing attorney from 1969 to 1981,[4] serving as a defense attorney in the martial courts following the Kaohsiung Incident of 1980.[5][6]

Rise in politicsEdit

Prior to the 1986 establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party, Hsieh, Chen Shui-bian and Lin Cheng-chieh were known as the "three musketeers" of the tangwai movement.[7] Hsieh cofounded the party and was the one who proposed its current name.[8] He has also served as its chairman twice. A two-time Taipei City councilor from 1981 to 1988, Hsieh was then elected to the Legislative Yuan, the next year, and won reelection in 1992.[9] Instead of running for reelection in the 1995 legislative elections, Hsieh chose to run in the 1994 Taipei mayoral election, and lost a primary to eventual winner Chen Shui-bian.[10] In September 1995, Peng Ming-min and Hsieh were placed on the Democratic Progressive Party ticket for the 1996 presidential election.[11][12] They finished second with 21.1% of the vote.

Kaohsiung mayoraltyEdit

In 1997, Hsieh successfully negotiated the surrender of the gunman in the Alexander family hostage crisis, raising his national profile.

To the surprise of many observers, Hsieh won the 1998 Kaohsiung City mayoral election, and defeated the Kuomintang incumbent, Wu Den-yih, by 4,565 votes.[13][14] His administration focused on improving water quality in surrounding rivers as well as a general overhaul of the port of Kaohsiung.[15] Hsieh supported placing the port, at the time run largely by the central government, under the jurisdiction of Kaohsiung City Government.[16] Under Hsieh's leadership efforts to clean up the heavily polluted Love River began in 1999, and ended in 2002.[17][18] He was also largely responsible for the establishment of the Kaohsiung Metro.[19][20] These achievements helped Hsieh earn strong support among Kaohsiung citizens.[21] He was re-elected for a four-year term in 2002. Hsieh was projected to win easily, but People First Party chair James Soong publicly supported Kuomintang candidate Huang Jun-ying, which helped Huang earn more votes.[22] Hsieh defeated Huang by 24,838 votes (3.22%).[13]

Premiership and aftermathEdit

In January 2005, Hsieh was appointed premier, forcing him to leave his post as mayor of Kaohsiung.[23][24] Chen Chi-mai succeeded him as acting mayor.

Kuomintang politicians asked Hsieh to step down from the premiership shortly after the Kaohsiung MRT foreign workers scandal broke.[25] Hsieh eventually resigned as premier in the aftermath of the 2005 "Three-in-One" elections, which the DPP lost in a landslide.[26][27]

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%).[28] The loss was largely expected, as Taipei was considered a Kuomintang stronghold.[29]

In February 2007, he led the Taiwanese delegation to the 55th annual United States National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., hosted by the U.S. Congressional Committee, with dignitaries including President George W. Bush.[30][31]

2008 presidential campaignEdit

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, 2007.[32] Hsieh was the second to formally declared candidacy, after the Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou did so three days prior.[33] Hsieh won 45% of the vote in the Democratic Progressive Party primary.[34] A scheduled straw poll was cancelled after his three primary opponents all conceded defeat, and Hsieh was declared the DPP nominee.[35] In July 2007, Hsieh visited the United States, branding it "the journey of Love and Trust" (「愛與信任」之旅).[36] 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.[37] As a result of the Kuomintang's allegations of graft against Hsieh, prosecutors began an investigation of him in 2007. The investigation ended in September, when it was announced that Hsieh would not be charged with wrongdoing.[38]

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. 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.[39]

Following the DPP's poor performance in the 2008 legislative election, Hsieh replaced Chen Shui-bian as party chairman.[40]

In January 2008, Hsieh accused candidate Ma Ying-jeou of having a United States green card. Subsequent investigations revealed that one of Ma's sisters and one of his two daughters are US citizens. Hsieh stated that if Ma made public documented proof that he had renounced the green card, Hsieh would withdraw from the election.[41]

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.[42] He resigned from the DPP chairmanship to take responsibility for the defeat.[43] 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.[44][45]

Cross-strait relationsEdit

2012 mainland visitEdit

In October 2012, Hsieh went to mainland China for five days as the highest-ranking DPP official ever to visit. However, the trip was made in no political capacity, but rather as a private citizen. He visited Xiamen and the Dongshan Islands in Fujian as well as Beijing on October 4–8.[46]

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

Although both sides agreed on the One-China policy, which governs Cross-Strait relations, Hsieh prefers to have a new consensus he called Two Sides, Two Constitutions [zh] instead of the 1992 consensus.[citation needed]

Hsieh reiterated his "Two Sides, Two Constitutions" initiative while on an April 2013 visit to the United States, and urged Beijing to accept difference across the Taiwan Strait for both sides being able to facilitate dialogue.[47]

Hong Kong cross-strait forumEdit

In late June 2013, Hsieh attended a two-day forum on cross-strait relations entitled "Development and Innovation of Cross-Strait Relations" in Hong Kong. The forum was co-organized by Taiwan-based 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.[48]

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.[49]

ROC representative to JapanEdit

In March 2016, local media began reporting that Hsieh had accepted a position as Taiwan's representative to Japan in Tsai Ing-wen's administration.[50] He announced the appointment in late April,[51] and made his first official visit to Japan on June 9.[52] Ko Shu-ling of the Kyodo News wrote favorably of Hsieh's appointment, stating that the focus on Cross-Strait and Taiwan–United States relations under previous administrations seemed to be rolled back in favor of a "southward" policy, a goal of the Tsai presidency.[8][53] Hsieh has discussed the possible lifting of Taiwanese restrictions on imports from Fukushima Prefecture, which had been put in place as a result of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the cause of meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.[54]

Personal lifeEdit

Hsieh is married to Yu Fang-chih (游芳枝);[55] together, they have a daughter[56][57] and a son, who served in the military on Tungyin Island (Dongyin)[58] and has served as Taipei City councilor since 2014.[59][60] Hsieh's mother died in 2007.[61]

Hsieh and nine other Democratic Progressive Party politicians performed traditional Taiwanese songs on a re-release of the album Oh! Formosa in 2000.[62] He later learned to play the ocarina, and released his own album in 2005.[1]

Hsieh first claimed part-aboriginal descent in 2005,[63] and stated that he enjoyed Bunun music.[64]

He is also of seventh generation native Taiwanese of Hoklo descent; his ancestor Hsieh Kuang-yu (謝光玉) migrated from Tongshan, a village in Fujian province, the ancestral hometown being Zhao'an County (now part of Dongshan County).[65][66]

Explanatory notesEdit


  1. ^ a b Hwang, Jim (March 1, 2008). "Finding Common Ground". Taiwan Today. Archived from the original on May 9, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Johnson, Ian (March 20, 2008). "Taiwan Heads for Thaw With China". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Hsu, Stacy (June 10, 2016). "Hsieh promises to deepen ties with Japan". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  4. ^ "Presidential election 2008: 1 days to go:Profiles of presidential candidates". Taipei Times. March 21, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Chao, Vincent Y. (December 13, 2009). "Thousands remember Incident". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  6. ^ Chao, Vincent Y. (December 13, 2009). "Academics acknowledge sacrifice made by protesters". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (January 30, 2005). "Hsieh, Chen are friendly rivals". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Ko, Shu-Ling (May 3, 2016). "Taipei's new Tokyo envoy pick has affinity for Japan, looks to strengthen ties". The Japan Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  9. ^ "President Chen and Frank Hsieh share long history". China Post. January 26, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  10. ^ Lee, Sherry (March 12, 2008). "Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh". CommonWealth Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Sheng, Virginia (January 12, 1996). "Independents fault sign-up rules; One presidential hopeful abandons race in protest". Taiwan Today. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  12. ^ Lin, Enru (October 25, 2015). "No running mates in 100-day stretch". China Post. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Jacobs, J. Bruce (March 1, 2003). "A Tale of Two Cities". Taipei Review. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  14. ^ Joei, Bernard T. K. (February 1, 1999). "Looking Back, Looking Forth". Taiwan Today. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  15. ^ Cheng, Brian (October 27, 2000). "Government shines spotlight on port cities; Future brighter for Kaohsiung". Taiwan Today. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Huang, Joyce (May 12, 2001). "Chen lauds merger of Kaohsiung port". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Huang, Jewel (January 8, 2004). "Boats to consummate Love River cleanup". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  18. ^ Chou, Wilma (August 23, 2002). "Kaohsiung City's Love River brought back from the dead". Taiwan Today. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  19. ^ "Workers reach milestone on metro project". Taiwan Today. August 4, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  20. ^ "Kaohsiung signs metro contract". Railway Gazette. June 1, 2000. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  21. ^ Huang, Jewel (December 31, 2004). "Hsieh: 'Our positive thinking's working'". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  22. ^ Lam, Willy Wo-Lap (December 4, 2002). "Surprises in Taiwan's mayoral race". Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Silitonga, Siska (January 25, 2005). "Taiwan President Picks New Cabinet Leader". Voice of America. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  24. ^ "Chen names Frank Hsieh as new premier". China Post. January 26, 2005. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  25. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (November 15, 2005). "Pan-blues demand Frank Hsieh's head over KRTC". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  26. ^ "Taiwan's Premier Resigns After Defeat". The Oklahoman. Associated Press. May 12, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  27. ^ "Taiwanese Premier Hsieh resigns". BBC News. January 17, 2006. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  28. ^ Chung, Lawrence (December 10, 2006). "KMT seen as the loser despite victory in capital". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  29. ^ Ramzy, Austin (December 11, 2006). "Back in the Game". Time. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  30. ^ Huang, Jewel (December 30, 2006). "Frank Hsieh set to attend US National Prayer Breakfast". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  31. ^ "DPP's Hsieh arrives in U.S. to attend prayer breakfast". China Post. Central News Agency. February 1, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  32. ^ Mo, Yan-chih (February 17, 2007). "Hsieh throws hat in ring for 2008 race". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  33. ^ Chang, Rich; Mo, Yan-chih (February 13, 2007). "Ma starts 2008 bid after indictment". Taipei Times.
  34. ^ "Frank Hsieh wins DPP primaries". China Post. May 7, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  35. ^ Young, David (May 8, 2007). "Hsieh confirmed as DPP candidate". China Post. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  36. ^ Chung, Lawrence (July 21, 2007). "DPP's presidential contender on a mission of 'love and trust' to the US". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  37. ^ Mo, Yan-chih; Wang, Flora (September 6, 2007). "Ma attacks Hsieh over 'Republic of Taiwan'". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  38. ^ "Taiwan's ruling party chairman resigns". USA Today. Associated Press. September 22, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  39. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (October 19, 2007). "Hsieh clarifies stance on investment from China". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  40. ^ Ko, Shu-ling; Shih, Hsiu-chuan (March 26, 2008). "DPP to elect new chairman on May 25". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  41. ^ Shan, Shelley (March 16, 2008). "6 days to go: Chen vows to quit if Ma proves he has no green card". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  42. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (March 23, 2008). "Presidential election 2008: Losing Ticket: Hsieh congratulates the victor". Taipei Times. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  43. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (March 27, 2008). "Hsieh resigns as chairman of the DPP". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  44. ^ Chao, Vincent Y. (June 8, 2010). "Frank Hsieh to run for spot on DPP's standing committee". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  45. ^ "Frank Hsieh apologizes for breaking vow to leave politics". China Post. July 26, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  46. ^ "Frank Hsieh confirms visit to China". Taipei Times. June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  47. ^ "Hsieh defends cross-strait initiative". Taipei Times. June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  48. ^ (GMT+8) (June 29, 2013). "Frank Hsieh calls for tolerance in cross-strait relations|Politics|News|". Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
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  50. ^ "Hsieh likely next envoy to Japan". Taipei Times. March 22, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  51. ^ Loa, Iok-sin (April 28, 2016). "Hsieh confirms his appointment as envoy to Japan". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  52. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Liu, Kay (June 9, 2016). "Frank Hsieh arrives in Tokyo as Taiwan's envoy to Japan". Central News Agency. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  53. ^ Chen, Hui-ping (March 21, 2016). "Tsai to chase 'new southward policy'". Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  54. ^ "Taiwan's new envoy indicates import ban on Japanese food may be lifted". The Japan Times. June 8, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  55. ^ "Cult leader for real, Hsieh's wife says". Taipei Times. December 11, 2002. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  56. ^ Mo, Yan-chih (April 3, 2005). "Children celebrate Anderson's tales". Taipei Times. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  57. ^ Ko, Shu-ling (April 1, 2002). "Frank Hsieh's 'Little Penguin' weds". Taipei Times. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  58. ^ "NO SURPRISES AS BOTH CANDIDATES ACQUIT THEMSELVES WELL IN TAIWAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE". US Department of State. March 10, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2019. In a dig at Ma and his family, Hsieh said, 'Taiwan is my only choice – my family members do not possess foreign passports; my son is serving in the military on Tungyin in Matsu.'
  59. ^ Wang, Chris (May 1, 2014). "Hsieh Wei-chou wins Taipei nomination". Taipei Times. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  60. ^ Lin, Sean (December 29, 2016). "Hsieh Wei-chou rebuts gambling report". Taipei Times. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  61. ^ "Frank Hsieh mourns his mother's passing in blog". China Post. Central News Agency. April 10, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  62. ^ "Real Dolls, Taiwan R&B, Eurasian Fusion". Billboard. Vol. 112, no. 34. Nielsen Business Media. August 19, 2000. p. 54. ISSN 0006-2510.
  63. ^ Rickards, Jane (August 10, 2005). "Taiwanese have indigenous roots". The China Post. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  64. ^ Chuang, Jimmy (July 26, 2005). "Hsieh says he is part Aboriginal; declares new day". Taipei Times. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  65. ^ "Key Taiwan opposition figure in China visit". BBC News. October 4, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012. He will visit Dongshan island, the home of his ancestors, and the Olympic stadium in Beijing.
  66. ^ Ramzy, Austin (October 4, 2012). "Quiet Reception as Taiwan Opposition-Party Heavyweight Visits China". Time. Retrieved December 18, 2014.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Kaohsiung
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Executive Yuan
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chairperson of the DPP
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairperson of the DPP

Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Shen Ssu-tsun
ROC Representative to Japan