Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), longtime political rivals who could meet in the party’s chairmanship election in May, yesterday exchanged verbal jabs over reports of Chinese interference in the election.
In a keynote speech to the DPP’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday, Taiwan Thinktank councilor Tung Li-wen (董立文) said Beijing’s planned to “eliminate Su” due to the chairman’s hawkish China policy.
The remarks were made after Hsieh had left the meeting early and were criticized by several party members as a political maneuver to boost Su’s possible re-election campaign — Su has not made official announcement on a bid — and paint Hsieh as Beijing’s favored candidate in the election.
Responding to a media inquiry about the so-called “eliminate Su plan,” Hsieh said yesterday that the speech’s timing, coming after his early departure from the meeting, was “rude.”
China’s political plan could be targeted at any DPP politician, Hsieh said without elaborating.
Su said he had not read Tung’s report before the meeting, but Tung’s assessment made sense as Beijing has always tried to discredit anyone who safeguards Taiwanese identity and values.
Su denied that being Beijing’s enemy would benefit a re-election campaign, saying that he “did not care much about what favors me and what works against me.”
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said Tung’s remarks “could have exaggerated things a little bit,” but were not groundless.
“It does not take a genius to know that Beijing would try to marginalize, discredit and attack those who are pro-Taiwan. It has been very clear — and I have said all along — that China will interfere with all elections in Taiwan, including the DPP’s chairman election,” Lu said.
Lu — one of the aspirants for the DPP’s nomination in the Taipei mayoral election — said that former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing shortly before the expected announcement of his son’s participation in the Taipei mayoral election was a case of Chinese interference, apparently referring to former Taipei EasyCard Co chairman Sean Lien’s (連勝文) likely campaign run for Taipei mayor.
Former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who could also participate in the chairman election, said she had never heard of the “eliminate Su plan.”
The DPP would be well advised to find out where the report came from, she added.