Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials have sued Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), demanding he be held accountable for the distribution of campaign literature which used an image of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assault on New York City to attack President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Despite this criticism, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials yesterday continued to defend the campaign poster, describing the poster's inclusion of photographs of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda terror figurehead Osama bin Laden as "creative."
"We want people to know that Chen is dangerous, that his actions are those of terrorism," said Lin Poh-jung (
Lin is also a former KMT Tai-chung mayor and a long-standing ally of Hu. Hu is a former foreign minister and one of the KMT's most promising candidates for top leadership roles.
"We chose to use the picture of Hussein because he unfairly controlled elections as the president of Iraq -- just like Chen Shui-bian," Lin said.
"In addition, bin Laden masterminded the attack on the World Trade Center ... Chen also likes to play games, pulling off tricks just like the Sept. 11 terrorist attack," Lin told the Taipei Times.
"The ad shows bin Laden saying `I am terrorist leader bin Laden, and I admire Taiwan's A-bian!'" he said, quoting the poster from memory.
On the poster, bold text also accuses Chen of "starting fires and inciting chaos wherever he goes."
The text is accompanied by a graphic of the collapse of one of the Twin Towers. A picture of Hussein holding a gun, saying "I am Hussein and you will all do as I say," figures prominently on the other side of the poster.
Around 600,000 copies of the poster were printed by the Tai-chung City KMT campaign headquarters 10 days before the election, Lin said.
"We had the foresight to think of using Hussein. We predicted that Chen would mess with the elections even before they happened," he said.
Lin said the poster had been produced by their publicity department, and that Hu, the director general of the campaign headquarters, had not participated in designing the ad.
But DPP campaign headquarters director general Chen Ta-chun (
"Even if Hu says that he didn't have anything to do with the poster, he is still the director general of the campaign headquarters that designed it," Chen said.
While calling the comparison of Chen Shui-bian with Hussein and bin Laden "inappropriate and wrong," the offending element that prompted the DPP lawsuit was instead an illustration urging residents not to vote in the referendum.
Chen Ta-chun said he had filed a lawsuit on March 18 against Hu on charges of interfering with electoral procedures according to Article 147 of the Criminal Code (
Meanwhile, the use of Osama bin Laden, Sept. 11, Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler in pan-blue campaign materials angered a well-known missionary figure in Taipei.
Bishop Stephen Cambio, who works with underprivileged and single-parent families in Taipei City's Ta-an District, said the KMT-PFP advertisement was "repulsive."
"To take a man [bin Laden] of such atrocity and terror and then attach him to a person like Chen is absolutely repulsive," he said.