Tue, Sep 28, 2010 - Page 3 News List

DPP's Yu Tien apologizes to Jason Hu

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER , TAICHUNG

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Tien (余天) yesterday apologized to Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) by telephone after he was caught on camera describing Hu's wife as “not clear in the head.”

Yu was caught saying that the incumbent mayor should spend more time at home to take care of himself and his wife, Shirley Shaw (邵曉鈴), who lost her left arm in a Nov. 18, 2006, car accident that also left her in a coma for a period of time.

Yu was addressing dozens of party supporters at an election event for Taichung City Council candidates. The comments were caught on video by a reporter from the Chinese-language United Daily News.

On the tape, Yu is heard saying that he was close friends with Hu and his wife and then talks about how the mayor should spend more time with Shaw, who “only has a hand and is not clear in the head” as a result of helping him in his political career.

“Hu has had a stroke and stumbles when he walks. As a friend, I think it’s really sad and I can’t bear to [watch],” Yu said. “I really don’t think he wants to be in this election.”

The comments, made just two months ahead of the special municipality elections, drew strong criticism from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, as well as DPP officials.

“The remarks are inappropriate ,and I hope he will apologize immediately. Hu’s health issues should never be a topic in the election,” DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a statement read by DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁).

Tsai’s condemnation was also conveyed to other DPP lawmakers, who were asked to avoid making further personal attacks on KMT politicians, Wu said.

In a phone call to Hu, Yu said he was sorry for making the comments, adding that they were not intended as a personal attack.

He said he was trying to tell the crowd how difficult it must be for Hu to make a re-election bid under such circumstances.

Hu accepted the apology and dismissed the gaffe as an example of DPP lawmakers “using the wrong words,” local media reports said.

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