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President & vice president

Vice President Lai
Vice President Lai

Dr. Lai Ching-te was born in 1959 in New Taipei City’s Wanli District. The son of a coal miner, his upbringing and medical training in empirical logic have given him the ability to understand and identify with the popular will and find tailor-made solutions, the foundations of a unique governing style that inspires public trust.

After receiving a B.S. from National Taiwan University’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Lai completed the Post-Bachelor Program in Medical Science at National Cheng Kung University. He then obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University, making him one of the few physicians in Taiwan with rehabilitation, clinical care, and public health expertise.

In 1994 when he was a chief resident at National Cheng Kung University Hospital and Taiwan was holding its first direct election for Taiwan provincial governor, Dr. Lai began his involvement in public affairs as the head of a Tainan physicians association supporting Chen Ting-nan (陳定南), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for governor.

During the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, Dr. Lai decided to emulate his predecessors in the pursuit of democracy and gave up his medical career to enter politics. In the election for National Assembly representatives that year, he was the leading vote getter from Tainan City, and he set out on a historic mission to abolish the National Assembly.

In 1998, Dr. Lai was elected to the Legislative Yuan representing Tainan City. Leveraging his medical expertise, he played a dynamic role in the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee while addressing over 100,000 local issues. Dr. Lai put equal emphasis on professional governance and solid service, and Tainan citizens showed their appreciation by electing him to the legislature for four consecutive terms (1999-2010).

During his legislative tenure, Dr. Lai was named "Best Legislator" by Citizen Congress Watch, demonstrated leadership and coordination skills as the DPP caucus whip, and led delegations to Japan and the United States to conduct parliamentary diplomacy. He chaired the legislature’s bipartisan Health, Welfare and Environment Foundation and was also part of a lobby group promoting Taiwan’s World Health Organization (WHO) membership, making seven trips to 22 countries including Korea, Japan, the United States, and European Union member states. In 2004, Dr. Lai was also chosen to participate in the US Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.

In 2010, Tainan County and Tainan City were merged to form the Tainan Special Municipality. Dr. Lai was elected as the first mayor, building a reputation for honest, diligent, and efficient government that became known as the Tainan New Deal. Running for re-election in 2014, Dr. Lai garnered 72.9% of the vote, the highest percentage in Tainan history, and the highest for any county or city head since the lifting of martial law in 1987.

As mayor from 2010 to 2017, Dr. Lai also actively promoted city diplomacy, working closely with Japan’s government, National Diet, and private sector to promote exchanges and sister-city agreements, enhancing substantive ties in culture, tourism, sports, agriculture, and disaster relief. In 2014, he met with State Department and National Security Council officials responsible for Asia-Pacific affairs for topical discussions in Washington, DC.

In keynote speeches delivered in English at the Henry L. Stimson Center and Project 2049 Institute that same year, he cited the DPP’s achievements using the letters of the party’s English abbreviation: Democracy, Peace, and Prosperity. He was also invited by the Israeli government to attend the 2016 International Mayors Conference in Israel, and he was the only mayor representing an Asian city in attendance that year. In 2017, he visited Washington, DC once again to hold in-depth discussions with experts from well-known think tanks about the Indo-Pacific situation, US-China relations, and the international trade regime following the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Taking on new leadership responsibilities in troubling times, Dr. Lai served as Taiwan’s premier from 2017 to 2019. His practical, results-oriented Cabinet adopted five key policy goals, setting out to promote: Taiwanese culture, the Green Silicon Island and smart digital nation concepts, a just society, and national well-being. His term of office also saw solid progress in achieving his vision of providing peaceful lives and employment security, sustainability, and balanced development throughout Taiwan.

In May of 2019, Dr. Lai traveled to Japan to deliver a speech to the House of Representatives on Taiwan-Japan relations during the Reiwa reign of Japan's new emperor Naruhito. He also held talks with dozens of parliamentarians and secretaries from various political parties, emphasizing that new international conditions make Taiwan-Japan cooperation under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy essential.

In November of 2019, as the anti-extradition movement roiled Hong Kong, Taiwan was in a key strategic location in the first island chain defending Asian democracy. With democratic institutions threatened like never before, Dr. Lai accepted President Tsai Ing-wen’s invitation to be her vice-presidential running mate in the following year’s election. Working on the front lines to consolidate Taiwan’s democratic system, he campaigned for the DPP candidates island-wide and defended Taiwan’s democracy, helping President Tsai win re-election and the DPP retain a legislative majority. The Tsai-Lai ticket rode to victory with a record-high of 8.17 million votes.

In February 2020 Dr. Lai accepted an invitation to the 68th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, becoming the highest-ranking official from Taiwan to attend since official diplomatic relations were severed 41 years ago while opening a new chapter in Taiwan-US relations. In May, Dr. Lai was officially sworn in as the 15th-term Vice President.

2020-09-29 Participates in the "Taiwan Biotech Industries Development Strategy Forum," where he expresses hope that Taiwan's biotech industries will be more resilient and become the next trillion-NT-dollar industry, and that the biomed industry will work together with ICT industries to create a "Healthy Taiwan."  
2020-09-19 Attends the 9th Nightingale Award Ceremony, where he praises the nurses' spirit of sacrifice and dedication, thanks them for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expresses his hope that our citizens will appreciate the services of our nurses, respecting their professionalism and recognizing their efforts.
2020-09-18 Hosts a dinner banquet for the Japanese delegation attending former President Lee Teng-hui's memorial service, and thanks former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori for leading the delegation to Taiwan to commemorate former President Lee. Also expresses hope that Taiwan and Japan will continue to strengthen cooperative relations, fostering bilateral friendship and safeguarding peace and democracy in the Indo-Pacific region together. 
2020-09-11 Heads for Jianshih township in Shinchiu County and visits Qalang Smangus for two days to participate in the "2020 Smangus Harvest Festival" celebrations and to witness the spirit and love reflected in the Tayal people's symbiotic relationship with nature. Hikes a forest trail the next day, experiencing the beauty of the tribal forest and listening to the needs of local indigenous tribes, hoping to achieve true justice for indigenous peoples.  
2020-09-11 Participates in the "Hacks In Taiwan Conference, HITCON 2020," and states that he looks forward to working with hackers in the information security field to maintain Taiwan's information security and promote our information industries together. 
2020-09-03 Accompanies President Tsai Ing-wen as she confers the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon posthumously on late Czech Senate President Jaroslav Kubera and meets with incumbent Senate President Miloš Vystrčil at the Presidential Office. Also attends a banquet held by the Czech delegation in the evening, expressing hope that Taiwan and Czech will continue to cooperate and work together for global democracy. 
2020-08-30 Attends a volunteer repair team's home renovation completion ceremony in Shizi Township, Pingtung County, where he states that this is the first successful cooperation project between Pingtung and Tainan counties. Expresses hope that there will be more opportunities for cooperation to benefit the underprivileged. Also expresses hopes that our citizens will maintain altruistic beliefs like this and expand their efforts to more locations. 
2020-08-24 Attends a Transitional Justice Commission press conference marking the exoneration of Tu Hsiao-sheng and Liao Li-chuan, where he states that pursuing transitional justice is something that all ethnic groups in Taiwan must address together. Also says that to face the future, Taiwan must be united, and encourages people from all walks of life to work together with the government to respond to challenges of all kinds so that the nation will continue to make progress.
2020-08-21 Participates in the "TAIWAN is Helping: Comprehensive AI x Disease Prevention online forum—Future Disease Prevention", where he states that for future disease prevention, technology and public health should develop in tandem, combining electronic technology, biotechnology and AI. Also reminds citizens that in facing the challenges of the pandemic, they should follow the Central Epidemic Command Center's instructions so that we can successfully fight its spread. 
2020-08-19 Presides over a meeting of the Funeral Committee for former President Lee Teng-hui and issues the following directives: 1. The state funeral will be conducted by state institutions, respect the opinions of the Lee family, and be based on the principles "out with the old, in with the new" and "honest and natural"; 2. The Presidential Office has communicated with family members over the past few days to coordinate decisions that have been made, and will respect the results of those discussions accordingly; 3. To maintain the dignity of the state funeral and show respect for former President Lee, security tasks should be given special attention in conducting the ceremony; 4. The Presidential Office and the Lee family will continue to communicate and further promote the idea of a memorial library in honor of former President Lee. 
2020-08-17 Heads for Fuli township in Hualien County and visits the St. Andrew Training Center for the Disabled, the Yi Feng Gardens, and Father Yves Moal's resource recycling center. States that he will assist President Tsai implement justice for indigenous peoples and ensure that their demands are taken seriously. Then visits the Yu Dong Carpenter at Yudong Junior High School to gain a first-hand understanding of rural education issues, encourage students to put the techniques they have learned to good use and find their own path in life.  
2020-08-16 Heads for Yuli township in Hualien County and visits indigenous elders to understand the results of government efforts to improve the home sanitation facilities of economically disadvantaged tribal elders in Hualien and Taitung counties. Then attends the Harawan tribe's Rice Harvest Festival and the Tafalong tribe's Ilisin Festival to experience traditional Amis culture. Emphasizes that the government will continue to show support for the tribes and provide better venues for cultural events to ensure that indigenous cultures are fully protected. Stays overnight in Hualien. 
2020-08-11 Hosts a luncheon for US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and his delegation. States that Mr. Azar's trip marks the highest level visit to Taiwan by a US cabinet official since 1979, showing substantive progress in Taiwan-US relations. Expresses hope that after the signing of an MOU on health cooperation, the two countries will work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and defeat the virus.
2020-08-11 Accompanies President Tsai Ing-wen to pay tribute to former President Lee Teng-hui at Taipei Guest House. Pens a personal tribute: "Heartfelt thanks for your contributions to Taiwan" in memory of former President Lee's efforts on behalf of the nation and society.
2020-07-31 Meets with the winners of the 20th Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and fondly recalls Mr. Democracy, former President Lee Teng-hui, and his selfless commitment and contributions that helped Taiwan’s democratic development. Because the volunteer spirit can only be fully realized under a democratic system, one could say that former President Lee is Taiwan’s greatest volunteer. 
2020-07-28 Attends a Digital National Competitiveness-Talent Circulation Alliance Industrial Exchanges Tour event in Kaohsiung, where he states that as a result of Industry 4.0 the world has entered a new digital era that he hopes will help industrial upgrading and talent cultivation in southern Taiwan. Also expresses hope that the Great South, Great Development plan will enhance the nation’s digital competitiveness, benefitting people in southern Taiwan and the whole country. 
2020-07-23 Attends the Workshop on Strategies of Climate Emergency, where he states that everyone can play an active and essential role in responding to climate change. Reducing carbon emissions and disaster prevention are not just policies, but are also industries in their own right. In addition to learning from our experiences in facing disaster, we must also be prepared and proactive. The government should cooperate with enterprises and learn from them to form a public-private partnership, which will surely drive the growth of new industries.
2020-07-22 Addresses the BIO Asia–Taiwan 2020 Conference via video, and emphasizes that Taiwan's success in containing COVID-19 has attracted worldwide attention and the key factors in that success were: prudent action, rapid response, and early deployment. Looking ahead, Taiwan will develop the biomedical industry, making it a new source of momentum for Taiwan's economy while making Taiwan a benchmark country in precision health, and using science and technology to prevent pandemics.
2020-07-15 Visits the Taipei Orphan Welfare Foundation and states that citizens will start to receive their Triple Stimulus Vouchers that day, and that no matter how people use them, they will help revitalize Taiwan’s economy. Encourages citizens to turn Triple Stimulus Vouchers into “Charity Vouchers” by donating them to the Orphan Welfare Foundation or other public interest groups to help more people in need . 
2020-07-02 Attends a Dr. Chen Wen-cheng memorial event, where he quotes what Dr. Chen repeatedly emphasized when he was interrogated by the Taiwan Garrison Command: "I support democracy" and "I always hope that Taiwan will progress." Expresses hope that everyone will unite to protect Taiwan and help Hong Kong, and ensure that democratic values will take root around the world to achieve global peace. 
2020-06-22 Attends the Joint Rice Harvest Festival of the Imaorod tribe on Orchid Island and visits the Lanyu health center and township office to understand local medical and basic infrastructure issues and needs.
2020-06-21 Tours the century-old underground houses of the Ivalino tribe on Orchid Island and visits the tribal elders, then stays overnight on the island. 
2020-06-12 Visits non-woven fabric and face mask manufacturers in Kaohsiung and states that Taiwan's success in the fight against COVID-19 has not only been praised by our citizens, but also widely admired in the international community, and our National Face Mask Team logistics support services also made a major contribution. Expresses hope that the national team remains intact and continues to work together to take Taiwanese brands global. The leading brand in public health and epidemic prevention is Taiwan, and we should cherish that brand image and use it so that Taiwan can forge its own path.
2020-06-11 Participates in a Harvard Table Series webinar on "The Impact of COVID-19 on Taiwan: Past, Present and Future" at the invitation of the Harvard Club of the Republic of China. Shares Taiwan's epidemic prevention experience, the pandemic’s impact on individuals and companies, and talks about how we are responding to post-COVID-19 changes in economic and trade patterns. Expresses hope that Taiwanese brands will definitely pursue global markets and promote our biomedical industry. 
2020-06-04 Visits Harbor Precision Inc. and praises the machine tool industry for their willingness to be part of the front line of defense in our national disease prevention efforts. Emphasizes that in the post-COVID-19 era, the government is dedicated to making Taiwan a hub for global disease prevention strategies and the production of medical supplies, upgrading Taiwan’s industries and developing our economy, and contributing to the international community. 
2020-05-28 Visits the Taiwanese Cultural and Creative Park and states that with the passing of the National Languages Development Act, in principle the native languages of all ethnic groups are mother tongues of Taiwan. During stormy times in Hong Kong, only by defending our sovereignty, democracy and freedom can we exercise our free will to protect and promote our mother tongues, and Taiwan will continue to move in that direction. 
2020-05-20 Sworn in as the ROC 15th-term Vice President. Accompanies President Tsai to receive congratulations from members of the diplomatic corps and foreign organizations stationed in Taiwan, as well as representatives from international organizations.   
President Tsai Ing-wen
Vice President Lai Ching-te
Presidents since 1947
Vice Presidents since 1947
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