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Taiwan Election Friday, 3 March, 2000, 11:23 GMT
Hsu Hsin-liang: Veteran dissident
Hsu Hsin-liang began his political career as a rising star within the ranks of the ruling Kuomintang.

A native-born Taiwanese, in 1977 he broke ranks to run for a county magistrate's office without the endorsement of the party.

His victory was seized upon by the burgeoning opposition to one-party rule and led to him becoming a leading dissident for political reform.
Factfile
Age: 57
Party: Independent
Political experience: Chairman DPP 1991-93 &1996-98; Member of Taiwan Provincial Assembly, 1973-77
Running mate: Chu Hui-liang (former legislator of the pro-reunification New Party)
Labeled a dangerous advocate of armed revolution and Taiwanese independence by the Kuomintang government he fled the island in 1979 for life in exile in the US.

In 1986, he tried to return to the island but was refused entry at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek airport. Three years later he was arrested for trying to slip into Taiwan aboard a mainland Chinese fishing boat.

Opposition chairman

After his release from prison on a presidential pardon, Hsu co-founded the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) becoming chairman in 1991 and leading the party to a sweeping electoral success against the Kuomintang in the 1997 local-level elections.

Increasingly overshadowed by the former DPP mayor of Tapei, Chen Shui-bien, Hsu resigned his post last year to make a bid for the presidency as an independent.

Hsu's campaign was however somewhat subdued, held back by a lack of money and political support that has rarely registered more than 1% of the electorate.

On the key issue of relations with the mainland, Hsu backed away from the DPP line that Taiwan should move to full independence from China, arguing instead that the current status quo should be maintained for as long as possible.

Increased Taiwanese trade and investment in the mainland should be the foundation for improving cross-Straits relations, he said, promoting democratic change on the mainland and strengthening Taiwan's own economic position.

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