Pi-Chao Chen, Taiwanese patriot and politician, died March 25, 2005, in intensive care in a hospital in Taipei.
In 1961 Chen left his homeland for study in the U.S. At the time, the Nationalist government, installed by mainland Chinese in the aftermath of World War II, actively repressed the Taiwanese independence movement both on the island and abroad. As a member of that movement, Chen expected never to return to his native country. He attended Wayne State University, earned a Ph.D. in politics at Princeton, and thereafter taught for many years at Wayne State.
In the last decades of the 20th century, however, the Taiwanese democratic movement gained in popular support and eventually achieved political victory. Chen returned to Taiwan to immerse himself in government affairs, first as national security adviser and then as vice minister of defense. His tenure in this last position coincided with a Chinese military buildup across the Taiwan Strait â€” warning that China still laid claim to eventual reunification with Taiwan. Failing health forced him to step down in 2001.
Chen is survived by his two sons, David and Levi, who remember him as a dedicated scholar and dreamer.