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Prominent Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yu Chen dies at 87

TAIPEI -- Former Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yu Chen Yueh-ying (余陳月瑛) died Sunday night at the age of 87 surrounded by her family at Kaoshiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, her family said yesterday.

Yu Chen's body was sent back to the family's old residence in Ciaotou Monday morning.

A member of the “Yu family” that dominated Kaohsiung County politics for more than three decades, Yu Chen was the daughter-in-law of Yu Teng-fa (余登發), who was the county's magistrate from 1960 to 1963.

She began her political career by running successfully for the Taiwan Provincial Council in 1963 and served in the body for four terms.

She narrowly lost a bid in 1981 to head the then-Kaohsiung County Government, falling to Kuomintang adversary Tsai Ming-yao by a few thousand votes.

But in 1982, she was elected to the Legislative Yuan, where she bided her time until defeating Tsai for Kaohsiung County magistrate in 1985. She held the position for two terms, until 1993.

Yu Chen was followed in the position by her son, Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), who also headed the county for two four-year terms and then served as interior minister from 2002 to 2004 in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

Yu Chen herself was an adviser to the president when the DPP held power.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) expressed her condolences over Yu Chen's death and commended her as a model of women's participation in public affairs.

Kaohsiung County, a county in Southern Taiwan, merged with Kaohsiung City to form a single special municipality on Dec. 25, 2010.

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