Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - Page 8 News List

‘Little red pepper’ displays her feisty flavor

By Chiu Hei-yuan 瞿海源

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) campaign office said last Saturday that it had filed yet another lawsuit against political commentator Clara Chou (周玉蔻).

The day before, the office demanded that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) stop her supporters from attacking Hung’s Facebook page by posting composite pornographic pictures featuring the KMT presidential candidate.

Hung’s campaign office has already taken legal action against some political commentators while criticizing others in public. Why is she so litigation-happy? Is it her problem or that of all the defendants? Can she win the presidential election by filing one lawsuit after the other?

As a matter of fact, Chou had already, on television, clarified her claim about Hung planning to withdraw from the presidential election in exchange for “benefits.”

She said: “What I mean is… now that the alleged exchange for benefits has taken place, perhaps it is spread by the green camp, you know? Because it is so afraid that Hung may be replaced.”

However, Hung’s campaign office still filed a second lawsuit against her, claiming Chou had fabricated untrue stories. Hung is clearly overly combative.

As for the case of netizens fabricating and spreading pornographic pictures featuring Hung on the Internet, it should have been enough just to report the crime to the police. Instead, Hung’s campaign office demanded that Tsai restrain her supporters, as if hinting that those vicious netizens are doing Tsai’s dirty work for her. This in itself is resorting to mud-slinging. Does the campaign office have any evidence that Hung’s online attackers were Tsai’s supporters? Is Tsai Hung’s only rival in this race?

Since Hung is in an unfavorable situation, she may hurt herself if she tries to attack a candidate in a favorable situation with negative campaigning. Hung’s support ratings have constantly been lagging behind, showing that those who do not support her are not only in the majority, but are consistently so. Will the majority of voters really change their mind to support her if her campaign office keeps filing lawsuits? It may even have the opposite effect, as the lawsuits merely bring the rumors to the attention of people who might otherwise know nothing about them. In addition, her rival’s supporters may well be turned off even further by her groundless mud-slinging.

When Hung registered for the KMT’s primary, she said Tsai was a kongxincai (空心菜), the name of a hollow-stemmed vegetable, a name that has taken root because “Tsai” is homophonous with the Chinese word for “vegetable.” Hung, then, was engaging in mud-slinging and negative campaigning right from the start.

A few months have passed since then. Hung, who is nicknamed the “little red pepper,” has displayed no other good flavor than her own “feistiness.”

As a presidential candidate, especially a candidate who is formally nominated, Hung should propose her own campaign policies appropriately. She should also study her rivals’ policies well, so as to expose and attack their flaws. In particular, since her support ratings have largely been lagging behind, she should refrain from criticizing others or trying to satirize them, or even distort facts or slander them with her inherent “feistiness.”

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