Honorable Dr. K-T Li -- Bio

Working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of National Defense, Li promoted the establishment of an institute of aeronautics and aerospace at the National Cheng Kung University in 1982, and the establishment of another institute of applied mechanics at National Taiwan University in 1983. The two new institutes now cooperates with the Chung Shan Institute of Science, a large center for defense research, in the training of high-tech manpower (PhD and M.S.) to supply its needs. These institutes have also been given greater flexibility in the face of personnel regulations to attract high-caliber engineers and scientists from abroad to its faculty. And as a result of this successful experiment, a program for fostering high-tech manpower at home and attracting high-tech talent from abroad for teaching and research was formulated as a means of upgrading the quality of graduate schools and R&D. In 1981, Li came to realize the seriousness of hepatitis B in Taiwan (between 16 to 20 percent of the population were carriers of the hepatitis B surface antigen) and he set out to curtail the high incidence of the disease among his people. Li initiated a number of experiments with vaccination and subsequently pushed a program of free injection for newborn babies by mothers who were carriers. The program proved to be 85% effective. Two years later in July 1986, general injection for all new-born babies on a national scale was carried out. The vaccine is now being produced in Taiwan in cooperation with Pasteur-Sanofi of France. To provide better health care for the rural population, Li launched a program to establish group-practice centers in rural areas with X-ray equipment, ambulances, and nurses. Two doctors from participating hospitals are assigned to each of these centers, to which patients are referred by local health service stations. The hospitals keep a close watch of these centers and give them support in more serious cases, for instance, when surgery is needed.
While Li was devoting himself to improving the medical and health services of his nation, his own heart condition deteriorated to such an extent that a triple by-pass operation was performed in Miami, Florida in April 1984. The operation was very successful and he returned to his post at the end of July 1984. Since then he has continued to work, offering his views and advice on virtually every important aspect of government activity. While his interests are very broad, he is currently addressing himself to problems of environmental protection and urbanization in addition to his basic concerns for the provision of better medical and health services, for the upgrading of quality of manpower, and for the advancement of new technologies all of which are essential to the sustained health of the economy. Indeed, he has dedicated his life to the promotion of social and economic well-being of his country and his people, and he has pledged to continue to do so for the remainder of his life.
Finally, it may be added that Li realized long ago that transforming China into a modern industrial society in the light of the country's age-old traditions would be an uphill struggle at best; that if he was to succeed, he would have to reinterpret modern concepts in a way that would appeal to the broad mass of the Chinese people. Toward this end he has sponsored numerous exhibitions, delivered countless speeches, and produced a steady stream of articles explaining his ideas and dreams. His written works number more than 1,000 items, some of which have appeared in English. In 1976 Mei-Ya Publishing Company in Taipei came out with the first edition of his collected papers under the title The Experience of Dynamic Economic Growth on Taiwan (1959-1975) by Mei-Ya Publishers. A second publication of collected papers The Economic Transformation of Taiwan (1976-1988), has published by Shepheard-Walwyn Ltd. of the United Kingdom later in October 1988.
Meanwhile, in collaboration with professors Gustav Ranis and John Fei, both of Yale University, he has finished work on The Evolution of Policy Behind Taiwan's Development Success, in which he chronicles his participation in the shaping of social and economic policy in Taiwan during his long and distinguished public career. The book is published by Yale University Press in July 1988.
In 1987, he published a book in Chinese entitled "Vision and Devotion-Witnessing Economic and Social Development on Taiwan, ROC". The book is really a selection of 30 articles from more than 800 articles and speeches which he had written or delivered over the past 3 decades. From this collection of articles he presented to his countrymen, his personal working experiences and philosophy of life that he is diligently sowing the seeds without asking to gather the crop. In 1991, he again published a book in Chinese entitled "Experience and Belief". The book is a selection of 29 articles from his speeches delivered mainly for disseminating the development experience of Taiwan. His incessant efforts in promoting the development of economy as well as science and technology in the past have been recognized domestically and internationally. 

After working with the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan for 40 years, Li retired in July 1988 from the Cabinet, and was immediately appointed as Senior Advisor to the President. He continuously does the things which he thinks are good to his countrymen and beneficial to the peoples of the countries in this region. After his retirement from the Cabinet, he began to reap the harvest. Consequently, he was invited (1) to visit and give lectures at the leading universities, (2) to render services in advising capacity at international bodies, (3) deliver speeches at international conferences and symposiums, and (4) to receive honors and awards conferred by domestic and overseas institutions. 

The President of Stanford University, Dr. Donald Kennedy, invited Li to visit Stanford for 3 days as his guest beginning from January 30, 1991. Li delivered a speech to professors at Stanford about his experience in the development of Taiwan economy. The topic is “Quest for Modernization: The Development Experience of the Republic of China on Taiwan" at a luncheon meeting chaired by the Provost, Dr. Rosse. Also attended were many Chinese leaders in Bay Area. During the 3-day visit, Li was specially arranged by deans of different colleges to meet the chairmen of several departments to familiarize Li the top notch programs of Stanford University which Li was interested in. President Donald Kennedy was very much impressed by Li's visit and decided through the strong Stanford Alumni Association to raise fund for the establishment of several Professor chairs bearing K.T. Li's name to make known to the academic circles and postgraduate students from Asian countries as a selected example, and to long remember Li's long-term incessant efforts exerted for his countrymen. 

In 1968, while he served as Minister of Economic Affairs, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Award for Government service because of his contribution to the industrialization of Taiwan economy. After retirement in 1990, he received the First Cynthia and George Mitchell International Award in Biotechnology in Houston, Texas, USA. 

Li received Honorary Degree from:
  • Honorary Doctor of Economics of Shung Kyun Kwan University of Republic of Korea in 1978
  • Honorary Doctor of Science from National Central University in 1983
  • Honorary Doctor Degree of Science-University of Maryland at Baltimore. USA (1989)
  • Honorary Doctor Degree of Engineering-National Chiao Tung University (1989)
  • Honorary Doctor Degree of Philosophy-Chung Yuan Christian University (1990)
  • Honorary Doctor Degree of Law-Boston University, USA (1990)
  • Honorary Doctor Degree of Law-The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong(1991) 

Li holds Honorary Citizenship of: Distinguished Honorary Citizen of the State of Arizona, USA (1987)  and Distinguished Honorary Citizen of the State of Texas, USA (1990)

He is Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, England (1991). Li is the first Chinese elected to this honor in 1991. In 1997, the Society for Design and Process Science (SDPS) established the K. T. Li Award for Outstanding Design of Economical/Social systems to be given away annually during the SDPS IDPT Conference. This award acknowledges outstanding achievements in design excellence of economic/social systems. He is a Fellow and honorary member of SDPS.