Chen is born in Tainan county in Taiwan's underdeveloped south, the son of farmers
1973 He passes the bar exam with flying colors at National Taiwan University, then starts a practice, specializing in maritime law
1980 As Taiwan's democracy movement stirs, Chen defends one of eight leaders of an anti-Kuomintang (KMT) protest who are charged with plotting to overthrow the government. Chen's client is convicted by the military court, but the case electrifies the nascent opposition movement
1981 Following the trial, Chen enters politics, and...
To continue reading:
Want the full story?
Get TIME the way you want it
Week Digital Pass — $4.99
Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS — $2.99
Year ALL ACCESS — Just $30! Best Deal!
Print Magazine + Digital Edition +
Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com
Learn more about the benefits of being
a TIME subscriber
If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!