age 31, Bi-khim Hsiao is among the youngest female politicians in
her native Taiwan, and she's been at it for more than a decade.
She's currently a legislator with the Republic of China and served
as an advisor and interpreter to President Chen Shui-Bian for almost
With a degree in East Asian studies from Oberlin
and a master's in political science from Columbia University, Hsiao
began her career as a program coordinator with the Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP) in Washington, DC. As a graduate student during the
1996 Cross-Strait Crisis, she mobilized overseas Taiwanese students
to protest against China's missile threats.
Before joining the current administration, she
led the Department of International Affairs for the DDP, becoming
the youngest director in party headquarters. She reassumed that
position last July with President Chen's inauguration of the party
the Legislative Yuan we have an opportunity to make real progress
for Taiwan," Hsiao says. "I'm working with my colleagues to bring
about social justice, strengthen our democratic institutions, and
foster a peaceful and secure international environment in which
Taiwan may survive and prosper."
During a conference last summer, Hsiao said that
China's international isolation of Taiwan has forced the island
to develop new mechanisms of international cooperation, such as
civil society groups and networking with political parties. "Taiwan's
democratic experience in overcoming authoritarianism is a great
asset," she said. "Although Taiwan still faces challenges that are
common in developing democracies, many Taiwanese believe for the
sake of our survival, that it should play a more aggressive role
in regional cooperation for democracy."
Hsiao also stated that Taiwan needs to establish
its own "democratic foundations" to mobilize resources necessary
for the promotion of international cooperation efforts.
-Matt Vella '03