Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) disapproval of streets named after politicians yesterday led to spurious criticism from the camp of his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rival, Sean Lien (連勝文), which demanded that Ko denounce a road that was not actually named after a political leader. Lien’s campaign team urged Ko to speak out against “Teng-hui Boulevard (登輝大道),” which has never officially been named after former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
The Taipei chapter of the KMT yesterday ran half-page advertisements in two Chinese-language newspapers — the China Times and the United Daily News — urging the public to join a parade organized by Lien (連勝文) on Saturday to “demand justice for [former president] Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).”
“Ko Wen-je once said that it was even more shameless to name a road ‘Ching-kuo Road (經國路).’ There is a road named ‘Teng-hui Boulevard (登輝大道)’ in Taiwan. Would you [Ko] say it was a shame?” the advertisement read.
The KMT labeled the section of the No. 2 Provincial Highway (台2線) that links Tamsui District (淡水) and Jinshan District (金山) in New Taipei City as “Teng-hui Boulevard,” although it is officially named Tam-Jin Highway (淡金公路).
It was the latest attack that the KMT launched at Ko over the issue, after former KMT legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) recently played a video on a TV talk show in which Ko said that he disapproved of designations such as Zhongshan (中山) and Zhongzheng roads (中正路), which can be seen nationwide, and that it is even more shameless that there are many roads called “Ching-kuo.”
“Zhongshan” roads are named to honor Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), the Republic of China’s founding father, while “Zhongzheng” refers to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
Chiu said Ko has been inconsistent in his perception of Chiang Ching-kuo, adding that Ko’s previous praise for Chiang Ching-kuo as being a president who had contributed much to the nation had been a trick to win votes from the pan-blue camp.
The KMT’s claim that Tam-Jin Highway was named for Lee was found to be wrong.
New Taipei City Department of Transportation Chief Secretary Wu Kuo-chi (吳國濟) said yesterday that the road has been the “Tam-Jin Highway” from the very beginning.
“‘Teng-hui Boulevard’ was just a nickname. Local residents called it ‘Teng-hui Boulevard’ probably because it was constructed when he [Lee] was president and it leads to his hometown, Sanjhih District (三芝),” Wu said.
Following KMT spokesperson Justine Chou’s (周守訓) demand on Monday that Ko apologize for criticizing the naming of “Ching-kuo roads,” Lien campaign director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) yesterday insisted that the Tam-Jin Highway was named “Teng-hui Boulevard” when Lee was in power.
“It was only changed to Tam-Jin Highway after Lee stepped down. Not only that, there is a bridge named after Lee’s father, Lee Ching-long (李金龍), known as King Long bridge. Why didn’t Ko say that was a shame?” Tsai said.
Ko had decided not to respond to the subject since Monday, saying the rival camp had “distorted” his original meaning.
“What I was saying was that there are Zhongshan roads, Zhongzheng roads and even Ching-kuo roads everywhere in Taiwan. I believe that if Chiang Ching-kuo were still alive, he would not allow roads to be named after him. It is brown-nosing,” Ko said when asked about the issue on Thursday last week.
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