Sean Chen


Politician, former Premier of the Republic of China, Taiwan

DAAD Scholarship 1977–1978

Sean Chen Hsu Shih-Mou

It is really rather remarkable: although Sean Chen’s time as a DAAD scholarship holder at Goethe University Frankfurt ended over three decades ago, it is regularly mentioned in reports about the former Taiwanese premier. Chen’s stay in Germany is obviously still having an effect. It was also the main reason why Sean Chen’s family received the German journalist Maya Kristin Schönfelder in 2011. 250 families from all over Taiwan took part in the Saytaiwan programme, which invited young people from more than 100 different nations to visit on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of China (as the country officially calls itself).

We need a new wave of economic changes.
Sean Chen

This form of demonstrative openness was also a leitmotif of Chen’s term as Premier (2012–2013). When he was Vice Premier the politician already promoted closer economic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and opened the Taiwanese market for Chinese banks. Chen included among his main goals as Premier, also with regard to Taiwan’s foreign trade relations, “a new wave of economic changes”. He called for more free trade agreements “to anchor the spirit of the World Trade Organisation”.

Chen’s international reputation as an economic and financial expert is largely based on his posts as chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission and as Vice Premier. In these positions, Chen successfully steered Taiwan through the global financial crisis. Neue Zürcher Zeitung called him a growth tsar. However, Chen graduated from the National Taiwan University in 1973 as a Master of Law, before taking up the DAAD scholarship in Frankfurt in 1977–1978. Sean Chen resigned from his post as Premier in February 2013.