President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday stepped up his re--election campaign in Greater Taichung by opening two campaign headquarters in the area, and expressed his confidence in winning by a large margin in this pivotal battleground in the presidential election on Jan 14.
Opinion polls show the race with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is too close to call.
Greater Taichung, a special municipality established by the merger of Taichung City and Taichung County, is considered to be a crucial swing area in the January presidential and legislative elections.
Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times
Despite being a traditional Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) stronghold, the party’s performance in the mayoral election last year sparked concern within the pan-blue camp as the DPP’s then-mayoral candidate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), lost to Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) by only a small margin.
Su is now running on the same ticket with Tsai.
The official establishment of Ma’s campaign headquarters in Fongyuan District (豐原) and downtown Taichung attracted thousands of supporters.
“We received over 500,000 votes in Taichung County in the 2008 presidential election, 150,000 votes more than the DPP, and I am certain that passion endures and will help me win this election,” Ma said to the crowd in Fongyuan.
KMT officials and local heavyweights from different factions attended the ceremonies. Former Taichung County commissioner Chen Keng-chin (陳庚金), former KMT legislator Chen Jie-ju (陳傑儒) and former Taichung County Council speaker Lin Min-lin (林敏霖) are all set to join the campaign team and stump for Ma.
The KMT is hoping to isolate People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) supporters in the area by focusing on party unity. Soong confirmed his run for the presidency on Tuesday by sending more than 355,000 signatures on his presidential petition to the Central Election Commission.
Meanwhile, Ma launched his home-stay campaign strategy in Greater Taichung on Friday night when he stayed at the house of farmer Chiang Wen-sheng (江文盛). His first home stay attracted much media coverage because Chiang is the brother of former National Security Council deputy secretary--general Antonio Chiang (江春男) under the former DPP administration.
Yesterday morning, Ma had breakfast with Chiang Wen-sheng’s family and then visited the family’s orange farm.
When asked about his interaction with Ma, Antonio Chiang said he returned to Fongyuan on Friday night to meet with Ma as a courtesy, but the two did not discuss politics.
“My political views and opinions on current issues are public knowledge,” said Antonio Chiang, currently a political columnist for the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
Chiang Wen-sheng is also the uncle of former Government Information Office minister Johnny Chiang (江啟臣).
Johnny Chiang, who is a KMT legislative candidate in the area, presented Ma with a lucky charm, a gift he said was made by a group of grandmas who wished the president all the best in the election and trusted him to bring peace and prosperity to the nation.
Wearing the charm as he campaigned for party candidates throughout the day in Greater Taichung, Ma said such home stays helped him better understanding local issues, and he promised to promote the continued development of the municipality if re-elected.
“Living a safe and peaceful life is the basic wish of all Taiwanese, and I promise to take this good luck charm from local grandmas and dedicate myself to maintaining peace and prosperity throughout Taiwan,” he said.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37