Open main menu

Tang Fei (Chinese: 唐飛; pinyin: Táng Fēi; born 15 March 1932) is a retired ROC Air Force general. He served as the Premier of the Republic of China between May 20 and October 6, 2000 under the Chen Shui-bian government of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), even though he was a member of the Kuomintang (KMT).

Tang Fei
Tang Fei 唐飛.jpg
37th Premier of the Republic of China
In office
20 May 2000 – 6 October 2000
PresidentChen Shui-bian
Vice PremierYu Shyi-kun
Chang Chun-hsiung
Preceded byVincent Siew
Succeeded byChang Chun-hsiung
20th Minister of National Defense of the Republic of China
In office
1 February 1999 – 20 May 2000
PremierHsiao Wan-chang
ViceWu Shih-wen
16th Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of China Armed Forces
In office
5 March 1998 – 31 January 1999
PresidentLee Teng-hui
12th Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of China Air Force
In office
September 1992 – June 1995
PresidentLee Teng-hui
Personal details
Born15 March 1932 (1932-03-15) (age 87)
Taicang, Jiangsu, Republic of China
NationalityRepublic of China
Political partyKuomintang (1952-2000)
nonpartisan (2000-present)
Spouse(s)Chang Ming-tsan[1]
Military service
AllegianceRepublic of China
Branch/serviceRepublic of China Air Force
Years of service1944–1999
RankSenior General
Battles/warsThird Taiwan Strait Crisis


Tang Fei was born on March 15, 1932, in Taicang, Jiangsu, Republic of China. He enrolled in the Chinese Air Force Preparatory School at the age of 12 and graduated in 1950. He later studied at the Republic of China Air Force Academy from which he graduated in 1952. He completed advanced military education at the Air Force Squadron Officers' Course in 1963, Air Force Command and General Staff College of the Armed Forces University in 1971, and the War College in 1979.

He served in a wide range of combat, staff, and overseas positions during his military career, starting as a pilot from 1953 to 1960, then moving to operations officer from 1960 to 1961, flight leader from 1961 to 1965, and squadron commander from 1968 to 1970.

As his first overseas assignment, Mr. Tang was posted to the ROC Embassy in Washington as Assistant Air Attaché from 1972 to 1975. Upon returning to Taiwan, he served as chief of the operations section of the Third Wing from 1975 to 1976, and later was Group Commander from 1976 to 1978. From 1979 to 1982, he was again posted abroad, this time as Armed Forces Attaché in the ROC Embassy in South Africa.

Back in Taiwan, he served as Wing Commander from 1983 to 1984 and Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Planning from 1984 to 1985. In 1985, Mr. Tang was appointed Superintendent of the Chinese Air Force Academy, and was later promoted to Director of the Air Force's Department of Political Warfare, the position that he held from 1986 to 1989.

Tang Fei as a Senior General of the Air Force.

In 1989, he first served as Commanding General of the Combat Air Command and then Vice Commander-in-Chief of the ROC Air Force from 1989 to 1991. He was then appointed Director of the Department of Inspection of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) from 1991 to 1992, Commander-in-Chief of the ROC Air Force from 1992 to 1995, and Vice Chief of the General Staff (Executive) from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, he was promoted to four-star general and Chief of the General Staff. He became the first military officer to answer questions during interpellations at the Legislative Yuan. In 1999, he retired from the military, upon his appointment as Minister of National Defense, a civilian position.

Tang was not only responsible for essential military equipment and personnel modernization programs, but he was also instrumental in formulating the new National Defense Law and the Organization Law of the Ministry of National Defense, which reorganized and streamlined the military command structure, giving the MND more authority over the General Staff Headquarters.

On March 29, 2000, President-elect Chen Shui-bian announced that Tang had been chosen as premier to head the new cabinet.[2] With his wide-ranging military and overseas assignments, Mr. Tang has extensive administrative experience and an international outlook, which has promoted relations with other countries and will be necessary for the new cabinet.

No longer a KMT member, Mr. Tang confirms the ideal that the new government will not be restricted to persons of any particular political party or ethnic group. Rather, the new government will include the best qualified individuals, who will be able to formulate effective domestic policies, enhance prospects for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and promote the ROC in the international community. During his tenure as premier from the opposition party, Mr. Tang had the highest domestic approval rating over all previous prime ministerial administrations. On October 3, 2000, Mr. Tang resigned from his post amid nuclear power row over Taiwan's energy policy.

After leaving government office, Mr. Tang has continue his interest in promoting peaceful cross-strait relationship as a visiting fellow to Kennedy School of government at Harvard University and Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Mr. Tang is currently finishing his Oral History in Hoover Institution. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, three children, and four grandchildren. An avid reader, Mr. Tang continues to take on new intellectual challenges.

Government offices
Preceded by
Lin Wen-li
ROC Air Force Commander-in-Chief
Succeeded by
Huang Hsien-jung
Preceded by
Lo Pen-li
ROC Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Tang Yao-ming
Preceded by
Chiang Chung-ling
ROC Minister of National Defense
Succeeded by
Wu Shih-wen
Preceded by
Vincent Siew
Premier of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Chang Chun-hsiung


  1. ^ Joyce, Huang (11 August 2000). "Tang expected back at work in full form today". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  2. ^ Choice for prime minister shows shift to moderation. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. March 30, 2000.