Wed, Jan 24, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ko challenges Tsai on question of ‘Taiwanese values’

By Lee I-chia and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporters

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, assisted by sign language interpreter Ting Li-fen, talks to reporters and members of the public at a mobile city government policy meeting in the city’s Songshan District yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would like to know what President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) meant by “Taiwanese values,” after she said that he should reaffirm his commitment to such values to gain the support of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members.

Tsai made the remark in an interview with political talk show host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) on Monday when she was asked whether the DPP still views Ko as an ally, as the party had supported him in the 2014 Taipei mayoral election.

Ko made some remarks and did some things that made DPP supporters uncomfortable, Tsai said, adding that the mayor is a smart person, so if he wants the support of DPP voters, he should know what they expect of him.

He should reaffirm his commitment to “Taiwanese values” so that DPP supporters “can feel that he is someone with whom we can fight together,” Tsai said.

“I would like to know what Taiwanese values mean,” Ko said when asked what he thought Tsai meant.

“Within the Chinese community in east Asia, what makes Taiwan special is its democracy, freedom, diversity and openness. While there is room for improvement in its rule of law, human rights and environmental protection, the realization of these universal values should be Taiwan’s values,” he said.

“I think politics should be realized in the people’s daily lives, so making idealistic and unpractical remarks is useless,” he said, adding that as an example, people want affordable, good quality apartments to rent.

“I know the levels of thinking of the president and the mayor are not the same — the president has to deal with national defense, diplomacy and ideological issues, but the mayor does not,” Ko said. “The mayor only has to care about economic development and try to let people live happy lives.”

“Society is not very accepting of criticism and I was only speaking the truth,” Ko said, when asked why he made DPP supporters uncomfortable.

Even though he could speak less, he cannot keep things to himself, Ko said.

Former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), a senior party member, yesterday wrote on Facebook that while the president mentioned that there are many definitions of “Taiwanese values,” she should share her point of view and the nation’s perspective, so that everyone can use them to evaluate Ko.

DPP legislators Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) have criticized Ko’s perception of Taiwanese values as being overly China-friendly and authoritarian.

Yao, who has announced his candidacy for the Taipei mayoral seat, said Ko’s descriptions of cross-strait relations as “one family” and a “quarreling couple” during a visit to Shanghai in July last year “deviated from Taiwanese values” and made DPP supporters “feel uneasy.”

Ko’s values differ dramatically from those of the DPP, and one might question whether he would hold the Nazis and Adolf Hitler in high regard with his authoritarian mindset, Tuan said.

Taiwan and China are not a family, and close cross-strait ties can be developed, but not forced, Tuan said.

“Efficiency in building an authoritarian rule cannot be used to gloss over the victimization of the people,” Tuan said, referring to Ko’s seeming admiration for former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

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