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Presidents since 1947

Ma Ying-jeou (12th - 13th terms)
Ma Ying-jeou (12th - 13th terms)
1950 Originally from Hengshan County in Hunan Province on the Chinese mainland, and born in Hong Kong. Receives a bachelor's degree from the College of Law, National Taiwan University, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from New York University, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School.
1981 Becomes the deputy director-general of the First Bureau of the Presidential Office, and then serves as President Chiang Ching-kuo's English secretary, involved in the task of lifting martial law and permitting residents in Taiwan to visit their mainland relatives.
1988 Appointed chairman of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan, and concurrently assigned to form a Mainland Affairs Task Force, subsequently becoming the body's executive secretary. Formulates the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and establishes Mainland Affairs Council under the Executive Yuan as well as Straits Exchange Foundation, institutionalizing cross-strait exchanges.
1991 Appointed deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, and concurrently elected as a KMT representative at-large in the Second National Assembly, participating in the task of drawing up the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China.
1993 Appointed Minister of Justice, in which position he produces outstanding results on launching an aggressive campaign to fight against corruption and drugs, cracking down on organized crime, investigating allegations of vote-buying, and reforming the prison system.
1998 to 2002 Wins the Taipei city mayoral election by a landslide two times respectively. Succeeds in transforming Taipei into a world-class cosmopolitan city. Many domestic and international polls frequently put Taipei in the front ranks.
2008-03-22 Elected as the 12th-term President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), securing an unprecedented victory with a total of 7.65 million votes, or 58.4 percent of the vote. Inaugurated on May 20, 2008, realizing Taiwan's second transfer of political power.
2012-01-14 Re-elected as the 13th-term President, with 6.89 million votes, or 51.6 percent of the vote.

Presidency (economic development affairs)

2008-05-20 to
After four months since taking office in 2008, encounters the global financial tsunami, and responds by lowering interest rates seven times, declaring a blanket guarantee for all bank deposits, investing NT$500 billion for five years to spur domestic demand, and issuing a consumption voucher worth NT$3,600 to every member of the population. Because of these measures, Taiwan is able to weather the global financial meltdown. Taiwan's economic growth rate in 2010 reaches 10.63%, hitting a record high in 23 years, and is ranked 7th in the world. Taiwan is ranked 6th, the best ranking Taiwan has ever earned, in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2011 compiled by Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development. After being hit by the eurozone debt crisis and declines in global export for three consecutive years, the economic growth rate in 2014 still stands at 3.92%, the highest growth rate of the Asia's four little tigers for the first time in 16 years. In 2016, the International Monetary Fund releases the rankings of annual per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP), in which Taiwan's average per capita GDP of US$46,783 is ranked 21st worldwide, up 11 slots in eight years. That puts Taiwan ahead of the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Japan and Korea.

Presidency (domestic affairs)

2008-05-20 to
The number of cabinet-level ministries and commissions is reduced from 37 to 29. Twenty five cities and counties are merged and upgraded to six special municipalities and 16 cities and counties. In addition, implements a volunteer military service system, a partial (50%) credit imputation tax, the consolidated housing and land tax system, 12-year public education, and integration of kindergartens and nursery schools. Pushes forward with national pension, labor pension systems, and the second-generation National Health Insurance. The number of people eligible for social assistance has been expanded from 260,000 to 700,000. Cracks down on production of tainted foods, determines oil and electricity prices by market forces, and develops photovoltaics and wind power energy to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. The Wu-Yang Viaduct freeway section and electrification as well as double tracking of the more congested sections of Taiwan Railways' Hualien-Taitung Line have been completed earlier than scheduled.
In the development of tourism, overseas tourists make over 10 million visits to Taiwan in 2015, an increase of nearly three-fold. Actively launches more efficient usage of agricultural land and Rural Rejuvenation to achieve the goal of a 50% reduction in currently fallow lands and increase the incomes of farmers. In addition, reforms the monthly subsidy to elderly farmers in an effort to prevent imposter scams and save large amounts of funds.

Presidency (Taiwan's participation in the process of regional economic integration)

2008-05-20 to
Taiwan signs the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with mainland China in 2010 and the Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Investment Arrangement (BIA) with Japan in 2011. And in 2013 Taiwan and New Zealand sign the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC). At the same year, Taiwan and Singapore sign the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP).
In cross-strait relations, consistently seeks, under the framework of the ROC Constitution, to maintain the status quo, defined as "no unification, no independence, and no use of force" in the Taiwan Strait, and acts on the basis of the 1992 Consensus—whereby each side acknowledges the existence of "one China" but maintains its own interpretation of what that means—to seek peaceful cross-strait relations. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait have signed 23 agreements to date. In February 2014, the ministers in charge of cross-strait affairs from both sides meet for the first time and refer to each other by their official titles. On November 7, 2015, meets mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore under the principles of "dignity and equality". The meeting marks the first time that the cross-strait leaders have met since Taiwan and mainland China came under separate rule 66 years ago, and cements a strong foundation for sustainable cross-strait peace.

Presidency (foreign affairs)

2008-05-20 to
Pursues a policy of viable diplomacy by emphasizing that the ROC should adhere to the principle that the purpose must be legitimate, the process must be lawful, and the implementation must be effective. This approach has brought more stable ties with our diplomatic allies and strengthened substantive relations with countries with which we do not have official relations. As a result, the country has been able to send the former vice president, higher-level representation, to the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. We also accede to the Agreement on Government Procurement under the framework of the World Trade Organization. After an absence of 38 years, starting in 2009 the ROC returns to the World Health Assembly. In addition, Taiwan in 2013 is invited to attend the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization, marking its return to that organization after a 42-year absence. This represents the biggest diplomatic breakthrough for Taiwan since its departure from the United Nations in 1971. As of March 2016, the number of countries and areas throughout the world providing ROC nationals with visa-free entry or landing visas are 164, increasing from 54 during the tenures of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). In the global Passport Power rating, an ROC passport now ranks in the top 25. We have incorporated five UN covenants such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Convention against Corruption into domestic law.
Pragmatically handles external disputes and ensures national paramount interests. With respect to the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutai Island, in August 2012, proposes the East China Sea Peace Initiative and affirms the ROC's intention to safeguard sovereignty, shelve disputes, pursue peace and reciprocity, and promote joint exploration and development. In April of 2013, Taiwan signs a fisheries agreement with Japan that puts an end to a 40-year fisheries dispute. In May of 2015, proposes the South China Sea Peace Initiative. In November of 2015, Taiwan and the Philippines sign the Agreement Concerning the Facilitation of Cooperation on Law Enforcement in Fisheries Matters, resolving fishing disputes between the two sides that have lasted 40 years. On January 28, 2016, visits Taiping Island in the Nansha Islands and proposes a South China Sea Peace Initiative Roadmap, reiterating sovereignty and affirming the fact that the legal status of Taiping Island is an island—not a rock, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Commits to working to transform Taiping Island into an island for peace and scientific research, as well as an ecologically friendly and low-carbon island, promoting regional peace and cooperation.

Personal timeline

2008-05-20 Sworn in as the 12th-term President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
2008-06-11 Cross-strait institutionalized negotiations, which have stalled for 10 years, officially resume with the first meeting between Chiang Pinkung (江丙坤, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation) and Chen Yunlin (陳雲林, chairman of mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits) in Beijing.
2008-07-04 Direct cross-strait flights begin with weekend charter flights, and then gradually expand to regular flights on weekdays.
2008-07-18 Begins admitting Category-1 Mainland tourists (not via a third place or area) to visit Taiwan in groups.
2008-10-01 Introduces the National Pension system to expand the social safety net, with mandatory insurance covering about 4.7 million people.
2008-10-07 In response to the global financial crisis, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) announces full protection for deposits at public and private banks, to prevent a bank run and reassure the public.
2009-01-18 Issues a consumption voucher worth NT$3,600 to every member of the population.
2009-04-28 The Legislative Yuan passes an amendment to the Tobacco and Alcohol Tax Act, reducing the price of a bottle of red label rice wine from NT$180 to NT$25.
2009-05-14 Signs the instruments of ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
2009-05-18 Minister of Health Ching-Chuan Yeh (葉金川) participates in the World Health Assembly as an observer under the name "Chinese Taipei," with its delegate designated as "minister of health". This marks the first time since losing its United Nations (UN) membership that the ROC takes part in a UN-affiliated organization.
2009-06-08 Signs the instrument of accession to the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement.
2009-08-27 The government welcomes Dalai Lama to attend a prayer ceremony for victims of Morakot Typhoon.
2009-08-28 Promulgates the Special Act Governing Reconstruction after Typhoon Morakot, establishes the Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council under the Executive Yuan, and allocates a special budget of NT$120 billion to advance reconstruction work.
2010-02-03 Announces amendments to the Executive Yuan Organization Act to reorganize the government, reducing the number of cabinet-level ministries and commissions from 37 to 29.
2010-04-25 Participates in a televised debate with Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen on the question: “Should the two sides of the Taiwan Strait sign the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement?”
2010-06-29 Signs the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with mainland China to keep pace with increasing economic integration in Asia.
2010-12-25 Select cities and counties are merged and upgraded into five new special municipalities in order to elevate the competitive strengths of our cities.
2011-01-01 Launches 12-year public education, to be implemented in three years.
2011-01-09 Presides over the groundbreaking ceremony for Kinmen Bridge in the offshore Kinmen Island.
2011-01-11 The European Union waives visa requirement to ROC nationals traveling to Schengen Agreement member nations.
2011-03-11 Following a massive earthquake in northeast Japan, immediately calls Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and pledges to donate NT$100 million for relief efforts. (By the end of June 2011 donations have exceeded NT$6 billion.)
2011-07-20 The Agency Against Corruption under the Ministry of Justice is inaugurated, demonstrating the government's determination to prevent corruption.
2011-08-01 Launches a program to provide tuition-free pre-school education for five-year-olds.
2011-09-22 Signs a Taiwan-Japan Bilateral Investment Arrangement, the first in sixty years.
2011-11-10 Signs a Taiwan-Japan open skies agreement, the first in sixty years.
2012-01-14 Re-elected as the 13th-term ROC President with 6.89 million votes.
2012-04-20 Presents the ROC's Initial National Reports on ICCPR & ICESCR (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) since starting implementation of these two human rights covenants.
2012-05-20 Sworn in as the 13-term President of the Republic of China.
2012-08-01 The Ministry of the Interior begins implementing a national system to register actual prices of property transactions. By making the online database available to the general public, this can effectively protect consumer interests.
2012-08-05 Attends activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the SinoJapanese Peace Treaty, and proposes the East China Sea Peace Initiative.
2012-09-25 58 fishing boats from the Suao Fishermen's Association sail into the waters within 3 nautical miles of Diaoyutai Island, to declare their rights to fishing and livelihood.
2012-10-02 The US announces that it will include Taiwan in its Visa Waiver Program, effective starting on November 1, 2012. This makes Taiwan the program's only participant with which the US does not have formal diplomatic relations.
2012-11-27 The Legislative Yuan passes amendments to the six organizational acts of the Ministry of National Defense, launching a volunteer military service system.
2013-01-01 Implements the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) program to ensure sound finance for our NHI.
Launches government reorganization.
2013-03-10 Resumes negotiations with the US on a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) after a six-year hiatus.
2013-03-12 The Ministry of Education expands its recognition of diplomas from mainland Chinese academic institutions, from 41 institutions to 111.
2013-03-17 Attends with Mrs. Ma the inauguration mass for Pope Francis.
2013-03-30 Presides over the inauguration ceremony for the 2,000-ton class Hsin Bei and Syun Hu No. 8 patrol vessels.
2013-04-10 Signs a Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement, fulfilling the principle of the East China Sea Peace Initiative, which declares that, "although sovereignty over national territory cannot be compromised, natural resources can be shared." For the first time in 40 years, Taiwan achieves its goal of "ceding nothing in terms of sovereignty, yet making great strides in terms of fishing rights" in the waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Island.
2013-04-19 Signs a Taiwan-Philippines Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
2013-05-09 to 2013-05-10 Pingtung-based fishing boat Guang Da Xing No. 28 is fired upon with automatic weapons by a Philippine government vessel. This results in the death of fisherman Mr. Hong Shi-cheng (洪石成) and severe damage to the boat. Demands that the Philippines take the following actions within three days: issue an apology; punish those responsible;compensate for the losses; and guarantee that such an incident never happens again. Failure to do so will bring sanctions upon the Philippines.
2013-06-21 Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and mainland China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits hold the ninth highlevel cross-strait talks in Shanghai, where the two sides sign CrossStrait Trade in Services Agreement.
2013-07-10 Signs the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC).
2013-08-08 Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman Amadeo R. Perez Jr. arrives in Taiwan and travels to Liuqiu Township in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County to issue an apology and compensation to the family of Mr. Hong Shi-cheng, who was shot and killed when a Philippine government vessel attacked his boat in overlapping economic waters.The Philippines decides to bring homicide charges against the coast guard officers responsible for the killing. The ROC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that the 11 sanctions against the Philippines will be rescinded.
2013-08-13 Announces amendments to the Code of Court Martial Procedure. Thereafter, outside times of war, military cases will be transferred to civilian courts.
2013-09-24 Taiwan is invited to attend the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a "special guest," marking its return to that organization after a 42-year absence.
2013-11-07 Taiwan and Singapore sign the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP).
2013-11-14 The Gambia unilaterally declares that it will break off diplomatic relations with the ROC. Four days later, the ROC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that it will sever formal ties with The Gambia.
2014-02-11 The heads of the agencies on each of the Taiwan Strait responsible for cross-strait affairs for the first time hold discussions and address each other by their official titles.
2014-06-04 Announces that the Enforcement Act of the Convention on the Rights of the Child has entered into force, fulfilling the protection of children's rights.
2014-06-18 The Jadeite Cabbage, a treasured item of Taiwan's National Palace Museum, is exhibited in Japan's Tokyo National Museum.
2014-06-28 The electrification of Taiwan Railways' Hualien-Taitung Line iscompleted and the line opens to rail traffic. This has shortened the time traveling from Taipei to Taitung, taking only 3.5 hours, and enables people to travel back and forth between the two cities in the same day.
2014-08-20 Promulgates the Act to Implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, fulfilling the protection of the interests of the physically and mentally disabled people.
2014-09-03 The ROC government brings back the spirit tablets of some 100,000 ROC soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the World War II in Burma and pays tribute to them for the first time in a fall memorial.
2014-09-19 Receives 2014 Eisenhower Medallion from US People to People International (PTPI).
2014-10-10 In his National Day Address, expresses his support for the democracy movement in Hong Kong, and urges mainland China to let some people go democratic first. His statement has been widely applauded by ruling and opposition party lawmakers.
2015-03-24 Makes a condolence visit to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, marking the first visit to Singapore by an ROC president since former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) visited the country in 1988.
2015-05-26 Proposes the South China Sea Peace Initiative with five urges, with the hope of transforming the South China Sea into a sea of peace and cooperation.
2015-06-05 The Legislative Yuan approves the amendments to the Income Tax Act, establishing the new consolidated housing and land tax system, which will take effect in 2016.
2015-06-06 Presides over a ceremony inaugurating the two patrol cutters of the Coast Guard Administration—the Kaohsiung and the Yilan.
2015-06-15 The Legislative Yuan passes the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, clearly setting the nation's concrete goals for reducing carbon emissions.
2015-06-16 The year of 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan. Attends a joint graduation ceremony of the ROC's five military academies, in which he awards commemorative medals to the veterans who fought in the war.
2015-07-01 The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is mothballed to keep the option open to future generations.
2015-07-11 Departs to visit three diplomatic allies in Latin America—the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua—on a trip codenamed the Forever Rising Project. During the trip, makes a transit stop in Boston,Massachusetts for the first time and delivers a speech at his alma mater of Harvard University.
2015-07-20 Kinmen County signs a water procurement contract with mainland China's Fujian Province in order to import water from the coastal city of Jinjiang.
2015-09-10 Presents a citation to late ROC Ambassador Ho Feng-Shan (何鳳山),which is accepted by his family, in recognition of his magnanimous efforts in issuing several thousand "Visas for Life" to Jewish refugees while serving as ROC Consul-General in Vienna in World War II.
2015-11-05 Taiwan and the Philippines sign the Agreement Concerning the Facilitation of Cooperation on Law Enforcement in Fisheries Matters,putting the South China Sea Peace Initiative into practice.
2015-11-07 Meets with mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平)in Singapore, confirming that the 1992 Consensus is the common political foundation for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and establishing the foundation of an institutionalized exchange mechanism for future cross-strait leaders.
2015-12-20 The 10th million person of foreign visitors arrives in Taiwan, making it one of the world's major tourism destinations which have over 10 million foreign visitors in a year.
2016-01-01 Formally implements the consolidated housing and land tax system,achieving residential justice.
2016-01-28 Visits the Taiping Island (also known as Itu Aba) in the Nansha (Spratly) Islands; proposes the South China Sea Peace Initiative Roadmap; recognizes that the Taiping Island is an "island" and not a "rock"; stresses that "Peace in the South China Sea and our national territory secure forever."
2016-03-25 The number of countries and territories offering Taiwan nationals visafree courtesies or landing visas reaches 164, which is the highest ever.
2016-05-01 The ROC's Coast Guard Administration and Council of Agriculture respectively dispatch two and one vessels to protect Taiwan's fishermen in the high seas near the Okinotori reefs in the Western Pacific.
2016-05-20 Steps down from the presidency.
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