For Immediate Release
Washington DC－April 8, 2022
Contact: (202) 547-3686
FAPA LAMENTS PASSING OF FORMER FAPA PRESIDENT DR. PENG MING-MIN
Today, on April 8, Dr. Peng Ming-min passed away in Taiwan.
Professor Peng was a pro-Taiwan independence/pro-democracy activist who served as FAPA’s president from 1986 to 1988 while in exile in the U.S. – having escaped imprisonment during the period of authoritarian rule in Taiwan.
He was the last of a trio of great Taiwanese men with Lee Teng-hui and Su Beng, who grew up in Taiwan during the Japanese era and did their university work in Japan. Each in their own unique way made significant and diverse contributions to Taiwan’s current independence.
Born during Japanese rule to a prominent doctor’s family in rural Taiwan, Peng received his primary education in Taiwan before going to Tokyo for secondary education, graduating in 1942.
During World War II, he studied law and political science at “Tokyo Imperial University.” At the end of the war, in order to avoid the American bombing of Japan’s capital, he decided to go to his brother near Nagasaki. En route, he lost his left arm in a bombing raid. While recuperating at his brother’s house, he witnessed the second atomic blast that destroyed the city of Nagasaki.
After the Japanese surrender, Peng returned to Taiwan and enrolled in “National Taiwan University.” He was studying for his bachelor’s degree at Law School when the February 28 Massacre occurred.
Following graduation, Peng did a master’s degree in law at McGill University in Canada and a doctoral degree in international law at the University of Paris in 1954.
In 1961, Peng was appointed as an advisor to Taiwan’s delegation to the United Nations, the highest political position held by a native Taiwanese person at the time.
However, after three years of service, Peng became skeptical of Taiwan’s political system, so he drafted, “A Manifesto to Save Taiwan,” which advocated 1. rewriting the outdated constitution to reflect political reality, 2. safeguarding human rights, 3. creating a responsible government, and 4. joining the U.N. as “Taiwan” rather than as “China.”
His attempt to update the constitution failed and Peng was arrested and handed a jail sentence of eight years. He managed to escape to Sweden though and then to the U.S. in 1970, where he took a post as a teacher at the University of Michigan.
During his 22 years in the U.S, he took top jobs at several pro-democracy and pro-independence organizations in the U.S., including the presidency of FAPA.
He returned to Taiwan in 1992 to become the Democratic Progressive Party’s first presidential candidate in Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996.
FAPA President Minze Chien reacts: “Dr. Peng makes all of us at FAPA proud to be a member of this illustrious organization. As a German philosopher once said: ‘Death is not the opposite of life. Death is the opposite of birth. Life is eternal…’ Indeed, Professor Peng lives on – very much so in all of us who have had the honor and the pleasure to walk with him. May these words comfort all of us during the coming days.”