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Koo Kwang-ming (; born on 15 October 1926) is a Taiwanese statesman, businessman and independence activist.


Family background

Koo was born into a life of privilege. He was the eighth son of
Koo Hsien-jung
Koo Hsien-jung
, a prominent Lukang businessman who had relocated to
Taipei Taipei (), officially Taipei City, is the capital and a special municipality of Taiwan (officially the Republic of China, ROC). Located in Regions of Taiwan, Northern Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City t ...
at the time of the
Treaty of Shimonoseki
Treaty of Shimonoseki
, when Taiwan was ceded by the
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last History of China#Imperial China, imperial Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by th ...
to the
Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of Japan, 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan. It encompassed the Japanese ...
. He swiftly made common cause with the Japanese colonial authorities in Taiwan and grew extremely wealthy during the period of Japanese rule. The family proved adept at bending with the political winds, and Koo's older brother Koo Chen-fu became a confidant of Chiang Kai-shek. Koo Kwang-ming, however, went into exile in Japan after the 228 massacre, where he lived for decades as an advocate for Taiwanese independence. His son born in Kobe, Richard Koo, is a prominent economist in Japan.


Political career

Koo enrolled at what became National Taiwan University in 1941 to study political science. He became chair of the school's student association, and was actively opposed to the Kuomintang. He left Taiwan for Hong Kong soon after the 228 incident, and later settled in Japan. In 1972, Koo traveled in secret from Japan via Thailand to Taiwan. He met Chiang Ching-kuo, son of ruler Chiang Kai-shek to argue for the lifting of martial law. As a consequence he was expelled from the Japanese chapter of WUFI. The younger Chiang invited Koo to end his exile to "share in the affairs of the country". Koo accepted, but on landing in Taiwan was upset to see his return described as "surrender" in an evening newspaper. He replied that he "had not returned to surrender, but to bring my influence to bear [on the situation]". Influential independence activist Su Beng contradicted this assertion, accusing Koo of "surrendering to the Chiang government". Koo joined the Democratic Progressive Party in 1996, when fellow independence activist Peng Ming-min received its presidential nomination. Koo later served president Chen Shui-bian as an adviser, resigning his post and DPP membership in 2005.


2008 DPP leadership bid

After the DPP's comprehensive defeat in the 2008 presidential elections, a leadership election was held to find the new party chairperson. Koo, then 82 years old, stood as a candidate. The campaign was notable for controversial remarks made by Koo about the suitability of an unmarried woman to lead, widely interpreted as an attack on the eventual winner, Tsai Ing-wen, who became the first elected female head of the party. Koo was appointed adviser to Tsa Ing-wen in November 2016, four months after she had taken office as President of the Republic of China.


Philanthropy

In 2014 Koo announced that he would be giving away half of his fortune, NT$3 billion, through his New Taiwan Peace Foundation. This included prizes such as an award for Taiwanese historical fiction.


Political stances

After Panama ended bilateral relations with Taiwan in June 2017, Koo and Yu Shyi-kun announced that the Tsai Ing-wen administration should renounce the Republic of China and seek international recognition as Taiwan.


References


Bibliography

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Koo, Kwang-ming Hokkien businesspeople Taiwanese exiles Taiwan independence activists Taiwanese people of Hoklo descent Taiwanese politicians of Japanese descent Living people 1926 births Koo family of Lukang National Taiwan University alumni Senior Advisors to President Chen Shui-bian Senior Advisors to President Tsai Ing-wen