Thu, Nov 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2018 ELECTIONS: Kaohsiung candidate panned over no protest remark

By Chung Hung-liang, Wang Jung-hsiang And Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu, front right, and New Taipei City KMT mayoral candidate Hou You-yi, front left, talk to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday told a news conference in Taipei that he was not a dictator and wished only for the betterment of Kaohsiung’s economy.

The comments sought to clarify controversial remarks he made during a YouTube live stream hosted by the Chinese-language China Times on Monday.

During the broadcast, Han said: “Protests on environmental concerns, education and city safety are acceptable, you can protest to your heart’s content; but, ideologically motivated protests are barred. Sorry, but they are disallowed.”

“Kaohsiung has been strangled these past two to three decades by ideology,” Han said, and such protests would not be allowed if he was elected mayor, whether they be held by pro-unification or pro-independence groups.

“A hundred percent economy, zero percent politics” is what we want, Han added.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), was yesterday asked by reporters to comment on his rival’s statements.

Chen said he has fought for for freedom of speech in Taiwan since he was a student, adding that: “Mr Han, coming from the side of the authoritarian government,” could perhaps not understand how many people have lost their lives for the democratization of Taiwan.

DPP New Taipei City mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) responded to media questions, saying that a mayor’s power cannot supersede the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Taiwan Radical Wings said that Han should cite the legal basis he would use to ban political processions in the city.

“We are appalled that Han dares to state his belief in anti-democratic ideals in public,” the party said.

Democracy is a norm that Taiwanese have come to accept, with the right of political procession and gatherings fought for with blood, Taiwan Radical Wings Kaohsiung City Councilor candidate for Zuoying (左營) and Nanzih (楠梓) districts Lee Hsin-han (李欣翰) said.

The right to hold political processions and gatherings symbolizes the acceptance of human rights, liberty and democracy — values that are precious not only because Taiwanese have fought hard for them, but also because they are why the nation can stand strong against the oppression of China, Lee said.

Lee blasted Han for thinking of taking away the right to hold political processions from Kaohsiung residents, panning Han’s comments as depriving Kaohsiung residents of their democracy and freedoms, rendering them second-class residents to every other city and county in Taiwan.

Additional reporting by Lee Ya-wen

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