Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday hit back at President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) criticism of the DPP’s piggy bank campaign, saying that fund-raising activities are common practice in democratic countries.
“We store our wealth among the people and create opportunities for people to become more affluent, instead of sending out piggy banks to raise money from the people,” Ma said at a campaign stop on Sunday in an obvious reference to the DPP’s “three little pigs” campaign, which has called on the public to fill piggy banks to support Tsai’s presidential campaign.
Tsai, during a stop in Greater Taichung’s Shihgang Township (石岡) yesterday, which she is visiting as part of her four-day campaign trip to Hakka constituencies, said that “fund--raising is common practice in democratic countries.”
Grassroots fund-raising campaigns encourage people to participate in politics, Tsai said. They provide a major source of funding for political parties such as the DPP, Tsai said, adding that it was “abnormal” for a political party such as the KMT to possess tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars in illegally gained assets and enjoy stock dividends of NT$2.8 billion (US$92.95 million) in the past fiscal year.
Alluding to Ma’s remarks, Tsai said that the KMT did not conceal its wealth in the public, but rather, hid it “in its party assets and in large corporations.”
What made the piggy bank campaign successful was people’s disgust with unfair competition between the political parties in Taiwan and their desire to be personally involved in the election and make changes, she added.
The DPP launched the piggy bank campaign after the Control Yuan said earlier last month that it would launch an investigation into the party’s acceptance of three piggy banks donated by children on Oct. 9, because the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法) stipulates that only those -eligible to vote are allowed to make political donations.
While the DPP returned the piggy banks to the children, the incident sparked a piggy-bank craze among Tsai’s supporters, who put their donations in piggy banks. The DPP later declared this month “little pigs month,” using children as campaign spokespeople to call on supporters to fill piggy banks to support Tsai’s campaign.
Ma’s re-election campaign office has questioned the legitimacy of the “three little pigs” campaign and accused Tsai’s camp of using children as a campaign tool.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) yesterday accused the DPP of “twisting children’s values by encouraging them to fill piggy banks with money in the shortest time possible and then kill the piggy bank and donate the money to a particular politician.”
Chao also expressed environmental concerns related to the campaign because of the result of the “tens of thousands of plastic corpses.”
In response, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) accused the KMT caucus of making senseless arguments, saying there was nothing wrong with encouraging people to save money in piggy banks. The plastic containers can easily be reused because there are ways to take out the money from the piggy banks without having to break them apart, he said.
Meanwhile, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said that more than 200,000 piggy banks are expected to be distributed to supporters as the piggy bank campaign enters its third week.
The party has ordered 100,000 piggy banks from manufacturers, but was forced to place additional orders in the second week because of high demand, he said.
Election law stipulates that anonymous donations cannot exceed NT$10,000 and signed personal donations cannot exceed NT$100,000, Lin said, adding that the DPP would handle all political donations in accordance with the law.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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