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Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui is dead

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FORMER Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, considered the “father of Taiwan’s democracy”, has died at the age of 97. He served as president of Taiwan, from 1988 to 2000.

Lee was credited with ending autocratic rule in favour of pluralism and democracy – but was also a controversial figure.

His attempts to delink the island from China sparked tensions with Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunited one day.

Lee died on Thursday from septic shock and multiple organ failure in Taipei, after being in hospital for nearly six months.

During his time in office he led constitutional changes towards a more democratic political layout, including direct presidential elections.

Current President Tsai Ing-wen said “he laid the foundation of a democracy built on pride and our own identity”.

Lee thrived on defying China’s drive to absorb the island and hoped for Taiwan to be “a country of democracy, freedom, human rights and dignity.”

He became president in 1988 after the death of predecessor, Chiang Ching-kuo.

In 1996 – the first direct presidential election in Taiwan – he was democratically elected for a second term with a landslide victory.

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