Campaign rhetoric heats up in Taipei Mayor race
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-14 05:01 PM
Rhetoric in the race for Taipei City mayor ratcheted up this week as Billy Pan, a spokesman for consolidated opposition candidate Ko Wen-je, went on several talk shows and suggested at one point that China’s CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping supported KMT candidate Sean Lien for Taipei mayor. On Wednesday the Sean Lien camp came back with a demand that Pan furnish evidence for his statements or place a public apology in major newspapers within 10 days.

Pan mentioned during forays on television talk shows that before Sean Lien declared his candidacy for Taipei mayor, he traveled with his father Lien Chan to China, where the elder Lien introduced his son by saying "he is getting ready for the Taipei mayoral elections." Pan said there are videos that show this, but he was refuted by another guest on the show, a former special assistant to Sean Lien. Hsu Hung-ting, who is running for Taipei City Council on the KMT slate, said that if Pan cannot produce a video verifying his comments about the Liens’ actions while in China, he should apologize to Sean Lien and his family and supporters.

At the Sean Lien campaign headquarters, spokesman Chen Hsiao-ching said Wednesday that Ko Wen-Je had pledged not to fight a negative election, but he was letting his spokesman make false accusations against Sean Lien. Chen appealed to Ko to curb his spokesman and other questionable campaign practices like his "Cyber Army", which has also been accused of spreading false statements about the KMT candidate.

Pan did show one videoclip from a visit to China by the two Liens in February this year. There was no audio of what the two said while shaking hands with Xi Jinping; rather, there was a voice-over by a television reporter who said, "Xi Jinping then turned toward Sean Lien and said, “Oh, hello. Hey, I heard you want to run for mayor of Taipei…? "

The talk show tit-for-tat continued during the week, with Lien’s campaign manager Alex Tsai and Ko’s manager Yao Li-ming putting in appearances on Blue and Green-oriented news channels to roil the political waters.

Sean Lien complained to reporters that Ko goes out during the day presenting a fresh attitude and cute face. At night, however, he unleashes his aides and his “Cyber Army” to carry out a systematic plan of attack to discredit him and his campaign. "I believe this is not the politics of a simple man,” said Lien, “it is the politics of a wicked man."

Lien warned that such tactics would continue: "From day one their motif has been personal attacks, and you can expect to be like this until November 29.”

On Wednesday the Lien campaign released the first in a series of themed videos called "Listening to the people," stressing that Lien intends to follow "the path of a citizen of the city.” The videos feature Sean Lien as narrator as well as protagonist and focus on several cases from overseas that point up the importance of citizen participation.

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