Michael Tsai

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Michael Tsai
Tsai Ming-hsien

前國防部部長蔡明憲 (cropped).jpg
Tsai in June 2016
26th Minister of National Defense
In office
25 February 2008 – 19 May 2008
Preceded by Lee Tien-yu
Succeeded by Chen Chao-min
Vice Minister of National Defense
In office
9 June 2004 – 25 February 2008
Minister Lee Jye
Lee Tien-yu
Deputy ROC Representative to the United States
In office
April 2002 – 9 June 2004
Serving with Shen Lyu-shun
Representative Chen Chien-jen
Preceded by Lee Ying-yuan
Succeeded by Stanley Kao
Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
1 February 1996 – 31 January 2002
Constituency Taichung
Member of the National Assembly
In office
1 February 1992 – 31 January 1996
Personal details
Born (1941-08-09) 9 August 1941 (age 76)
Taichū Prefecture, Taiwan, Empire of Japan
Nationality Taiwanese
Political party Democratic Progressive Party
Alma mater National Taiwan University
University of Wisconsin
California Western School of Law
Occupation politician
Profession lawyer

Michael Tsai (Chinese: 蔡明憲; born 9 August 1941) is a Taiwanese politician.

Academic and legal career

Tsai earned a bachelor's of law degree from National Taiwan University before seeking further education in the United States with a master's in business administration from the University of Wisconsin and a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law. For three years, he was a research fellow at the Center for Human Resources Development at San Diego State University. Tsai also practiced law in California, New York, and New Jersey before returning to Taiwan, where he taught law at National Taichung Institute of Technology and National Air University from 1991 to 2002.[1]

Political career

Tsai was a member of the National Assembly from 1992 to 1996, then was elected to the Legislative Yuan twice in 1995 and 1998.[1] He sought the Taichung mayoralty in 2001, and lost the election to Jason Hu.[2] In April 2002, he was named deputy representative to the United States.[1] On 9 June 2004, Tsai was sworn in as vice defense minister.[3] He was named the Democratic Progressive Party candidate for Taichung 1 in 2008, and lost to Tsai Chin-lung in the January legislative elections.[4] Following the electoral defeat, Michael Tsai was promoted to Minister of National Defense in February 2008, after the resignation of Lee Tien-yu.[5]

While an active politician, Tsai wrote occasionally for the Taipei Times.[6][7] After leaving politics, Tsai continued to advocate for stronger Taiwan–United States relations and has led the Taiwan United Nations Alliance.[8][9] He has proposed that Taiwan raise military spending.[10]


In November 2007, while Tsai was vice defense minister, Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation won a bid to produce equipment for the Republic of China Armed Forces. Kuomintang legislator Tsai Chin-lung had reviewed military equipment, found the specifications to violate the contract terms, and ordered AIDC to suspend production. Michael Tsai and DPP lawmakers Ho Min-hao and Hsieh Ming-yuan along with AIDC chairman Lo Cheng-fang, accused Tsai Chin-lung of interference on behalf of SYM, the company that had lost the contract.[11] The Taipei District Court ruled in September 2011 that the claims against Tsai Chin-lung were unsubstantiated and ordered all four accusers to publish a public apology.[12]

In April 2009, Next Magazine reported that Tsai was responsible for selling military ranks during his tenure as Minister of National Defense. Tsai denied the allegations and sued the publishers for defamation.[13] Tsai released his memoirs, God Bless Taiwan in April 2011.[14] Shortly before its official publication in 2013, Tsai was accused of leaking state secrets.[15]

In August 2014, Tsai and Chiou I-jen were accused of violating the Classified National Security Information Protection Act. The Supreme Court found both not guilty in November 2015.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Dr. Michael M. Tsai 蔡明憲立委需您的支持關照". TaiwanUS.net. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Low, Stephanie; Lin, Mei-chun (10 November 2001). "December 1 elections: Parties shift into attack mode". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  3. ^ Lin, Chieh-yu (9 June 2004). "Chen swears in Wu, other new top officials". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Legislative elections and referendums" (PDF). Taipei Times. 13 January 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Wang, Flora; Chang, Rich (28 February 2008). "Tsai sworn in as minister of defense". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Tsai, Michael (23 April 2000). "Military needs efficiency, not Aegis". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Tsai, Ming-hsien (5 October 2004). "Peace in our time, or peace on our terms?". Taipei Times. Translated by Bartholomew, Ian. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Lowther, William (12 September 2015). "US resolution supporting UN bid introduced". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Lowther, William (13 March 2016). "Delegation urges US to sell weapons to Taiwan". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Chen, Wei-han (22 January 2018). "Ex-defense chief urges spending boost". Taipei Times. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  11. ^ Chuang, Jimmy (28 November 2007). "Lawmaker accused of pressuring MND". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Chang, Rich (9 September 2011). "Former minister ordered to pay KMT legislator". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Huang, Shelley (25 April 2009). "Former deputy defense minister sues magazine". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  14. ^ "Missile could reach Beijing". Taipei Times. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Wang, Chris (18 March 2013). "Ex-minister denies leaking military secrets in memoir". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  16. ^ "Former officials found not guilty in military leak case". Taipei Times. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
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