Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), who served as campaign director for KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), sparked an uproar yesterday with his first public appearance since the Nov. 29 elections, saying that he knew it would take a “miracle” for Lien to win and that the top echelons of the KMT had asked the candidate to refrain from bashing Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團).
Tsai posted an article on Facebook at about midnight on Tuesday — coinciding with the publication of the latest issue of the Chinese-language Next Magazine, where he also shared “insider” information.
On both platforms, Tsai said that he became Lien’s campaign director on Aug. 1 and — when visiting Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on Aug. 7 — read an election analysis report provided by Wang after which he concluded: “Unless a miracle occurred, it would be impossible for Lien to win the election.”
He was “a warrior who had no right to choose his battlefield and could only charge forward without reservation,” Tsai wrote on Facebook.
He listed a dozen reasons Lien had failed. The primary reason was the “negative campaign of class struggle” by then-independent candidate Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲), during which Lien’s rival “incited a large group of young people to ‘envy and hate’ Lien’s family background and wealth.”
Two major food scandals in a year and policy failures — such as a cut to the benefits received by retired military personnel, public school teachers and civil servants and the implementation of 12-year national education program — had “uprooted the chance of victory for Lien,” Tsai added.
He also called the political feud between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wang “stupid.”
“Wang’s report found the cause of the disease, but no medicine was prescribed,” Tsai said. “Good medicine tastes bitter. A drug that might have been effective was not acceptable to some.”
The “effective medicine” was apparently in reference to the castigation of Ting Hsin that Tsai had wanted Lien to undertake during the campaign.
Ting Hsin is the food manufacturing giant that triggered public anger earlier this fall for its involvement in repeated adulterated cooking oil scandals, prompting calls from netizens and civic groups for a boycott on the conglomerate’s goods and services.
Amid the then-snowballing cooking oil scandal surrounding the business group, the KMT filed a lawsuit against an individual who alleged that during his re-election campaign in 2012, Ma received a political donation of NT$1 billion (US$32.8 million at current exchange rates) from the Wei (魏) family, Ting Hsin’s owners.
According to the Next Magazine report, which cited Tsai, Lien blocked a plan characterized as “the extermination of Ting Hsin,” because KMT Central Standing Committee member Lee Te-wei (李德維) told him that KMT Deputy Secretary-General Lin Teh-jui (林德瑞) had called and asked Lien not to single out Ting Hsin when talking about food safety issues.
Tsai alleged that since Lin could not have made such a decision by himself, it was probably Ma or National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), Ma’s confidant, who was pulling the strings, according to the magazine.
However, Tsai told reporters at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday — where he showed up for the Finance Committee meeting — that the magazine exaggerated his stance.
“I did not [name Ma or King]; I do not have proof for that,” he said, adding that it was the reporter who asked him whether it might have been the duo.
However, the legislator said that just days after Lin asked the team to suspend the plan to target Ting Hsin, “the Presidential Office itself fired away at the corporation.”
“I call Lien a lonely fighter who got abandoned on the battlefield,” Tsai said.
Later yesterday, KMT Culture and Communication Committee director Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) denied the report, saying that the party did not dictate how Lien responded to the cooking oil scandal involving Ting Hsin International Group.
According to Fan Chiang, Lin called Lee once to discuss the food safety issue, as Tsai said in the report, but the conversation was about Lin expressing his concerns about the impact of the food safety scandal on the election.
Lin said he made the call to Lee in his personal capacity, as opposed to being asked to do so by any upper-echelon officials, and what he said to Lee — which he said contained no mention of Ting Hsin — reflected only his personal views.
Lee also denied the report, saying that Lien’s campaign office had set its position on the issue before he got the telephone call from Lin.
The Presidential Office said that neither Ma nor King gave any directive to the party or Lien’s campaign office regarding the case.
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
‘INCREASED VIGILANCE’: A source of infection has not yet been found for the latest two cases in a hospital cluster, which should serve as a warning, Chen Shih-chung said A total of 2,991 people associated with a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital have been put under home isolation, after an emergency expanded isolation order was issued on Sunday evening, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Fifteen people have so far tested positive in the cluster infection. The first case in the cluster (case No. 838) was reported on Jan. 12 — a doctor who treated an infected patient who had returned from the US. Contact tracing for the first 13 cases found connections to case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that
DUBIOUS HONOR? A man in his 90s, who tested positive yesterday and is part of the Taoyuan hospital cluster, is the oldest person in Taiwan to have contracted COVID-19 Taiwan yesterday recorded six new imported cases of COVID-19 and two new domestic cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the local infections are linked to the cluster at Taoyuan General Hospital, which now totals 12 cases. One of the domestic cases is a man in his 90s, who was treated earlier this month at Taoyuan General Hospital and tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday last week, four days before he was discharged, the center said in a statement. After one of the nurses on the ward was confirmed on Saturday last week to have contracted COVID-19, the