Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday urged his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opponent, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), to refrain from diverting public attention from her alleged land speculation by taking aim at the KMT’s assets.
Chu made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit to Nantou County’s Chung Tai Chan Monastery yesterday morning, in response to reporters’ inquiries about Tsai’s categorization of the KMT’s controversial assets as the “One Ring” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy on Monday.
“Chairperson Tsai has repeatedly stigmatized the KMT’s assets, cashing in on the issue and using it as a fig leaf to cover up her own problems,” Chu said, adding that Tsai was apparently attempting to shift the focus from growing questions about her personal land dealings.
Tsai said on Facebook on Monday that the KMT’s assets were the devil’s temptation, like the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings, as the bearer would not want to remove it once putting it on.
“They are also toxic to our democracy and must be eradicated. If a political party wallows in such assets, it is not only detrimental to Taiwanese democracy, but could also undermine the foundation of a party’s existence,” Tsai said.
Tsai urged voters to use their ballots to help the KMT take off its “ring of illicit assets” and announced plans to push for the legislative passage of the draft political party act (政黨法) to return the KMT’s assets to the people.
The DPP caucus has accused the KMT of trying to get rid of its party assets before an anticipated transfer of power to the DPP next year, citing advertisements published by the Chinese-language Commercial Times seeking buyers for land owned by the KMT.
The caucus also alleged on Monday that the KMT’s assets had a combined value of at least NT$104.3 billion (US$3.15 billion), including NT$60 billion of properties sold when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) served as KMT chairman.
The KMT’s assets have long been a thorny issue, as they largely stem from properties previously owned by the Japanese colonial government.
Shrugging off Tsai’s plans to push for laws designed to deal with the KMT’s contentious assets, Chu said he would maintain a positive election campaign.
“Hopefully, we are able to keep the focus of the upcoming debates on issues of public policy, rather than some outrageous numbers or rumors fabricated for the purpose of smearing the other candidates,” Chu said.
Two televised debates between the three presidential candidates have been scheduled for Sunday and Saturday next week, after the first and only vice presidential debate takes place on Saturday.
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