Chen Shui-bian (born October 12, 1950) is a former Taiwanese politician who was the 10th and 11th-term President of the Republic of China from 2000 to 2008. Chen, whose Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has traditionally been supportive of Taiwan independence, ended more than fifty years of Kuomintang (KMT) rule in Taiwan. He is colloquially referred to as A-Bian.
Chen entered politics in 1980 as a lawyer during the Kaohsiung Incident, Chen entered politics as a member of the Tangwai movement and was elected to the Taipei City Council in 1981. Chen was jailed in 1985 for libel as the editor of the weekly pro-democracy magazine Neo-Formosa, following publication of an article critical of Elmer Feng, a college philosophy professor who was later elected a Kuomintang legislator. After being released, Chen helped found the DPP in 1986 and was elected a member of the Legislative Yuan in 1989, and Mayor of Taipei in 1994.
Chen won the 2000 presidential election on March 18 with 39% of the vote as a result of a split of factions within the Kuomintang, when James Soong ran for the presidency as an independent against the party nominee Lien Chan, becoming the only non-member of the Kuomintang to hold the office of president. Although Chen received high approval ratings during the first few weeks of his term, his popularity sharply dropped due to alleged corruption within the Chen administration and the inability to pass legislation against the opposition KMT, who controlled the Legislative Yuan. In 2004, he won reelection by a narrow margin after surviving a shooting while campaigning the day before the election. The incident was widely suspected as politically staged, and investigations into the incident was inconclusive.
Convicted, along with his wife Wu Shu-chen, on two bribery charges, he is currently serving a 19-year sentence in the Taipei Prison, reduced from a life sentence in prison.
Chen was born to an impoverished tenant farming family in Guantian Township of Tainan County (now part of Tainan City) on the second day of the ninth lunar month in 1950 but was not formally issued a birth certificate until February 18, 1951 because of doubts that he would survive.
Academically bright from a young age he graduated from the prestigious National Tainan First Senior High School with honors. In June 1969, he was admitted to National Taiwan University. Initially a Business Administration major, he switched to Law in his first year and became editor of the school's law review. He passed the bar exams before the completion of his junior year with the highest score becoming Taiwan's youngest lawyer. He graduated in 1974 with an LL.B. in Commercial Law.
In 1975, he married Wu Shu-chen, the daughter of a physician. The couple have a daughter, Chen Hsing-yu, who is a dentist; and a son, Chen Chih-Chung who, having received a law degree in Taiwan, gained a Master of Laws from the University of California, Berkeley in 2005.
From 1976 to 1989, Chen was a partner in Formosa International Marine and Commercial Law, specializing in maritime insurance. He held the firm's portfolio for Evergreen Marine Corporation.
From : www.wikipedia.org