TAIPEI (CNA) — Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who is due to step down after four years in office, was awarded the Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen with Grand Cordon by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Taipei on Monday.
A reception was held at the Presidential Office in his honor.
The Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen is a civilian order of the Republic of China (Taiwan) that was instituted in 1941. It is given in commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the ROC, and as a token of thanks to those who make outstanding contributions to the country.
Tsai said the medal was awarded in recognition of Chen’s contributions to the country and his having performed many challenging tasks over the past four years, including pushing pension reforms, promoting human rights, having dialogues with religious groups and paying visits to diplomatic allies on behalf of the country.
An epidemiologist by training, Chen is also an important player in the government’s think tank, she said, noting that it is thanks to his expertise that Taiwan was able to learn from its past experiences to handle the current COVID-19 situation.
The president wished him well on his return to academic medical research after leaving office on Wednesday.
Chen described his civil service role over the past few years as full of challenges that required huge commitment and hard work.
The outgoing vice president went on to thank Tsai for having trusted him with duties spanning from the pension reform and marriage equality to human rights promotion and the COVID-19 prevention efforts.
He also thanked his wife Lo Fong-ping (羅鳳蘋), who accompanied him to the ceremony, and his two daughters for their patience and tolerance.
According to the website of the Presidential Office, past recipients of the Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen with Grand Cordon have included Cheng Chao (鄭照) and Chung Yu (鍾宇) in 1944, both of whom were members of the Revive China Society, which was established in 1894 by Sun as a platform for revolutionary activities.
The most recent awardee was Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) in 2008, who served as vice president from 2000 to 2008.