Retired police officers and firefighters protested outside Martyrs’ Shrine in Taipei yesterday, with some reportedly calling for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to “lose her head” for living off the misery of the people.
“Is it right that Tsai should live a life of ease at the expense of the police and firefighters? Should [she] not be killed?” Lin Kuo-chun (林國春), who is president of the New Taipei City Retired Police Association and a New Taipei City Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilor was quoted as saying, adding that in a past era she would have lost her head.
The protest targeted the governments pension reforms, saying the plans trampled the rights of retired police officers and firefighters.
Lin said that if the group’s rights were to suffer, the amenities and preferential treatment given the president should also be slashed.
Lin said Tsai was living “a pampered life,” as she did not have to stand in the sun during ceremonies, while chefs cook for her and chauffeurs drive her in cars worth NT$20 million (US$660,393).
“No other nation treats its police officers and firefighters so poorly,” Lin said.
Presidential Offices spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that Lin’s statements were extremely inappropriate and unhelpful.
The goal of pension reform is for every citizen to enjoy a quality retirement that is economically safe, Huang said.
The reforms are aimed at using limited resources to fairly and sustainably care for every person, Huang said, adding that Taiwanese should have more hope that the reforms would pass.
Lin later denied that he had referred to “President Tsai” or “Tsai Ing-wen” directly when he spoke of killing, nor did he say that he would kill her.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Lin was instigating hatred and conflict.
It called for Lin and KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) to deliver a formal apology.
“Lin, as an elected official, nevertheless sought to stir up protesters with hate speech, unruly and undemocratic behavior, which should disqualify him from representing retired police officers and firefighters who were protesting,” DPP spokeswoman Chiu Li-li (邱莉莉) said.
Instead of helping to facilitate negotiations between the government and protesters, Lin set the worst example by using hatred to excite protesters, Chiu said.
Hung should also apologize over KMT members making such remarks, Chiu said.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Tang Te-ming (唐德明) said every politician must take responsibility for their words and actions.
“Tsai has not apologized for hate-filled speeches by the DPP,” Tang said. “The party is lenient on itself, but harsh on others, which is not a good example for democracy.”
Additional reporting by Chen Wei-han and CNA