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Taiwanese-American heads Romney campaign's policy division

2012/08/28 20:27:44

Tampa, Florida, Aug. 27 (CNA) The head of the policy division of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign is Lanhee Chen, 34, the son of Taiwanese immigrants.

Chen, whose parents are from Yunlin County in Taiwan, is one of the rare Asian faces in prominent positions in the Republican presidential campaign.

A politician with a strong academic background, Chen holds four Harvard degrees -- one bachelor's, one master's, and two Ph.D.s in law and politics. He worked at a lobbying firm after obtaining his first degree in 1999.

He then worked as a fellow at the Heritage Foundation where he studied health care and economic policies.

He joined the Republican Party in 2007, the same year that Romney proposed to seek the party's nomination for the 2008 presidential election.

Chen served as a senior aide in the Health and Human Services department during the administration of President George W. Bush.

In 2008, Chen was named chief domestic policy advisor of Romney's nomination campaign and joined the current presidential campaign in March last year.

In a profile of Chen in the Washington Post, freelance writer Molly Redden described him as "brilliant."

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said Chen is a rising star of Asian background in the Republican Party.

It is rare that people of Asian background are placed in such high positions in any U.S. presidential campaign, she said.

Chen's current post as policy director in the Romney campaign signifies that Republicans value ethnic diversity and shows the growing importance of politicians with Asian background in the party, she said.

At a campaign rally mainly for Asian voters in Tampa, California

on Monday, Chen told Taiwanese reporters that Romney plans to stick to the U.S.' current policy toward Taiwan and China, which has been the same for the past decade.

Speaking of his Taiwan roots, Chen said he enjoyed every trip he ever made to Taiwan. Taiwan has changed a lot in the past decade, which is really exciting, said Chen, whose parents now live in San Gabriel Valley, California.

Taiwan is an extraordinary place that has a vibrant democracy, he said.

On the observation that many view his China policy as "hawkish," Chen said China is an important trading partner of the U.S. Romney does not intend to start a trade war with China, but neither will the U.S. succumb to China, he said.

Romney believes that China should not manipulate its currency, put up trade barriers, or infringe on intellectual property rights, he said.

Unless China moves toward such changes, Romney will remain committed holding China accountable, Chcn said.

(By Liao Han-yuan and Ann Chen)
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