CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Annette Lu, who was elected vice president of Taiwan Saturday, making her the highest-ranking female government official in the island's history, was a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law.
Lu, 55, came to the Urbana-Champaign campus in 1969 and received a masters of comparative law (MCL) at the UI College of Law in 1971. She subsequently received a masters of law degree at Harvard University.
A pioneer activist for democracy in Taiwan, Lu was given a 12-year jail sentence in 1980 for "attempted sedition" after speaking at a human rights rally. She was interrogated for 400 hours by military authorities, who threatened to arrest members of her family if she did not sign a composed confession.
She was released from prison in 1985 following a campaign by Amnesty International.
Lu is credited as the founder of Taiwan's women's movement. She started the Pioneer Publishing House, specializing in books on the women's movement, and is the author of "New Feminism" (1977).
In recent years, she has been a major presence in the Democratic Progressive Party, whose leader, Chen Shui-bian, was elected president of Taiwan. Lu advocates a "slow diplomacy" approach in which Taiwan will increase its presence in the global community without offending mainline China.
A native of Taiwan, Lu was almost sold off by her father at age 5, but was saved by the intervention of her older brother.