President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign office yesterday questioned the legitimacy of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) “three little pigs” donation campaign and accused Tsai’s camp of using children as a campaign tool.
Tsai, the DPP’s presidential candidate, and her election team launched the “three little pigs” campaign late last month after the Control Yuan warned the DPP about a possible violation of the Act Governing Political Donations (政治獻金管理條例) when the party accepted piggy banks donated by three-year-old triplets. The act stipulates that only people of voting age who meet other voting eligibility requirements are allowed to make political donations.
The DPP returned the piggy banks to the children, but the incident sparked a fad among Tsai’s supporters to put their donations in piggy banks. The DPP later declared this month “little pigs month” and has used children as campaign spokespeople to call on supporters to fill piggy banks to support Tsai’s campaign.
Ma’s campaign spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) yesterday said the DPP should put a stop to the piggy bank drive, as it violates the law by seeking political donations from children.
Lee denied that the campaign team or the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) reported the piggy bank incident to the Control Yuan and said the DPP’s act of returning the piggy banks to the triplets showed that the party acknowledged its mistakes.
“We are not against the participation of children in campaign activities, but it is illegal to solicit political donations from children ... If such an incident happened in our camp, would the DPP keep quiet about it?” she said.
Lee said the campaign team had received complaints from parents who said they were saddened to see children appear at DPP fundraisers because they seemed to be used as a campaign ploy.
In Ma’s campaign souvenir shops, she said, campaign staff would remind supporters that only Taiwanese over the age of 20 are qualified to buy campaign products.
“We cautiously follow legal regulations and we urge the DPP to stop flouting the law immediately,” she said.
In response, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) hit back at the KMT for “never understanding [the virtue] of engaging in introspection.”
The KMT doesn’t understand that it [the three little pigs campaign] reflects people’s grievances about the current situation and their desire for change,” Lin said, adding that “the more the KMT oppresses [the three little pigs campaign], the stronger the support from the people [for the campaign.]”