UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News


Taiwan elects first Catholic vice president

Chen may help raise the church's profile on the island, Catholics say

ucanews.com reporters, Hong Kong and Taiwan

ucanews.com reporters, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Updated: January 19, 2016 02:54 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Taiwan elects first Catholic vice president

Large projector screen shows the image of Tsai Ing-wen and Chen Chien-jen, who were elected president and vice president of Taiwan on Jan. 16.

Share this article :
Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan's first Catholic vice president, could help raise the profile of the church on the island, local Catholics said.

Chen, eminent epidemiologist, ran with Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, who won the Jan. 16 presidential elections in a landslide.

Chen, 64, is known to be a fervent Catholic, being conferred a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 2010 and of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2013 for his contributions to the church.

James Liao, a Catholic educator in Taichung, hopes Chen will bring Christian values into the political circle.

"This will help improve the effectiveness of the government and carry out justice so that authorities can join hands with the church in helping the marginalized and enhance social welfare," he said.

However, Paul, a Catholic consultant in Taipei, sees little function for Chen except that "more church institutes may invite him as spokesman for fundraising."

Paul said the Catholic population of 270,000 was "too small to be influential." Political parties place little importance on the church, except when it comes to diplomacy, he said.

"However, the current situation shows Taiwan has limited diplomatic space, where the church can play a role," he said.

In the lowest voter turnout in Taiwan's history, Tsai with 6.89 million supporting votes beat her major rival Eric Chu of the Kuomintang by 3 million votes.

It also witnessed the first party change in Taiwan's Parliament with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winning a majority 68 seats while the Kuomintang dropped significantly from 64 to 35 seats. The remaining 10 seats went to smaller parties.

Some Kuomintang supporters did not vote and some even voted to the democrats out of disappointment to their own party, Paul said.

"Party alternation has become a norm. If the DPP is corrupted as in the past after Tsai takes office, people will vote them out next time," he said.

No matter who rules "they have to listen to the people. A top-down decision-making model is no longer acceptable," said Faustina Nuanting Huang, a researcher with the Taiwan Institute for Economic Research.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution