Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday lashed out at former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for accusing the government of manipulating the public’s fears, while Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that Ma should have a bottom line when it comes to the nation’s sovereignty.
Cho, who yesterday started campaigning in 73 constituencies for January’s presidential and legislative elections, made the remarks while speaking to reporters at his first stop in Hsinchu City, where he stumped for DPP legislative candidate Cheng Hung-huei (鄭宏輝).
Cho said he regrets the sarcastic remark by Ma and believes that it was a desperate attempt by Ma to rid himself of the reputation of putting Taiwan in a difficult situation.
Photo: Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times
Ma at an event hosted by his foundation on Saturday said that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been manipulating people’s fears using “dried mango strips” (芒果乾) — a wordplay on “a sense of the nation’s impending doom” (亡國感) — to her party’s favor.
“If the so-called ‘dried mango strips’ are true, Ma likely planted the mangoes in the first place,” Tsai said later that day.
The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong should be taken seriously and Ma’s remarks are inappropriate under the circumstances, Cho said.
Ma should have reflected more on himself and on why China has had such huge leverage over Taiwan over the past few years, he said, adding that even so, the DPP had stopped criticizing him.
Ma should have stood with the government against any intruding forces instead of spouting sarcastic put-downs and it was clear to Taiwanese that with next year’s elections, Ma had gone to great lengths to steer himself from putting Taiwan through difficult times during his term, Cho said.
He said that people have never questioned Tsai’s stance on Taiwan’s sovereignty and national security, and that the DPP would continue to stand with her.
Cho refused to comment on Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) remark that “farmers grow mangoes; it is bad politics that cause real damage,” saying that it would only give Ko the attention that he craves.
When asked about Ko’s remark that the DDP has been trying to decrease voter turnout to win elections, Cho said: “He would never know what our strategies are.”
Cho is to visit every constituency in the nation, and when a campaign headquarters for the elections have been established, the DPP would make strategic deployments in places it believes would be tightly contested, he said.
Cho did not deny the possibility that people might cast their ballots for different parties in the presidential and legislative elections, expressing the hope that Tsai could exert greater influence on the public to vote for DPP legislative candidates.
Cheng said that the biggest threat to Taiwan is Beijing, whose “one country, two systems” formula leaves no room for Taiwan.
The sense of the nation’s impending doom grows when people stop upholding national sovereignty and Tsai’s remarks highlighted the bottom line Taiwan should maintain on this issue, he added.
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