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Shih Ming-teh

Shih Ming-teh (施明德; born January 15, 1941 in Kaohsiung) is a former political prisoner and politician in the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Political Prisoner

First arrested at the age of 21 in 1962 and charged with creating the "Taiwan Independence League" (a high school discussion club) with the intention of overthrowing the Kuomintang government, Shih was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. The sentence was commuted to 15 years in 1975, and Shih was transferred from Taiyuan prison to a rehabilitation centre.

Shih was finally released in on June 16, 1977. He prompted joined the Tang wai opposition movement, became a reporter for the Taipei Times and married the American researcher Linda Arrigo. After playing a part in the organizing the December 10, 1979 pro-democracy rally subsequently known as the Kaohsiung Incident, an arrest warrant was issued charging Shih with treason, and following 26 days on the run he was again arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

But Shih's fame had grown, and this time his arrest had attracted worldwide attention. Shih undertook a series of hunger strikes and demanded human rights and the freedom of all political prisoners. In July 1987, Chiang Kai-shek lifted martial law and offered an amnesty to Shih, but he refused to accept it until he finally agreed that his conditions had been met, on May 20, 1990. In total, he spent 25 years in prison, 13 years in solitary confinement and over 4 years on hunger strike.


In 1992 Shih Ming-teh was elected in Taiwan's first free elections to the Legislative Yuan to represent Tainan county, a post he held until 2000. Shih also acted as the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party from 1993 to 1996.

See also: Politics of Taiwan