Hundreds of thousands of people yesterday rallied in New Taipei City in support of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), at his first official rally.
Despite great efforts by his opponents to defame him in recent months, the rally attracted 350,000 people, Han said.
“Go ahead [with the mud-slinging], your daddy waits for you,” Han shouted at the rally.
The reason people are releasing misleading polls and false rumors about him is because he has too many supporters, he said.
If elected president, he would defend the Republic of China (ROC), love Chinese culture and ensure the nation’s freedom and democracy, he said.
While he has many shortcomings, “I would never be involved in corruption,” he said. “I promise I am a good person.”
Before Han took the stage, the crowd was asked if they believed polls that show Han’s support rate has declined. The question was met with a resounding no.
Supporters began flooding into the Xingfu Shueiyang Park (幸福水漾公園) in Sanchong District (三重) at 2pm.
Within three hours, the park was packed with more than 100,000 people, according to organizers, with many clad in red and blue, and carrying ROC flags.
By 6:50pm, about an hour into the event, organizers said the turnout had exceeded 250,000.
To ensure a high turnout, the KMT’s New Taipei City chapter had instructed local legislators, councilors and other members to mobilize 87,000 people to attend the event, while many people traveled from outside the city in chartered buses.
The rally had been planned at this time with the hope that a massive crowd would show up and put an end to rumors that the KMT had been considering changing its candidate, a KMT member involved in the presidential campaign said.
Prior to the rally, Han’s campaign office had expressed concern over the turnout amid declining support in polls.
Since Han won the KMT’s primary in July, when he had a support rate of 47.7 percent compared with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 15.8 percent and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) 18 percent in some polls, the Kaohsiung mayor’s support has plummeted to as low as 24 percent in some three-way polls released this month.
Han’s campaign office deputy chief executive Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) on Friday said that the rally was of “key importance,” as it was the first the office would hold, adding that aimed to attract at least 200,000 people.
The mayor hoped to see that “his supporters have not left him,” Hsu said at the time.
Hsu yesterday accused the media of misrepresenting Han and exaggerating his faults, adding that she had been avoiding watching the news.
“We are here to show Han’s haters and the Democratic Progressive Party’s cyberarmy that the more you try to defame Han Kuo-yu, the more we will support him,” she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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