Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday said that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) “mudslinging campaign” against him has reached the point that he could even be blamed for “leaves falling off a tree.”
Since taking office as mayor, he has often had to run the city “with a dark cloud hanging over [his] head,” Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, told reporters in Kaohsiung.
Every effort he has made has been distorted by the DPP’s online influence campaigns and “cybertroops,” he said.
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
“It has become so bad that my team and I would be blamed even if a few more leaves fell off a tree than usual — that is how bad it is,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, Han wrote on Facebook that an Internet user has posted a photograph of Kaohsiung’s Love River (愛河) taken in May following heavy rains, and falsely claimed that the river had become polluted under his governance.
An Internet user found that the image allegedly came from “cybertroops” run by Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如), a former campaign aide to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Han wrote.
Kaohsiung residents know that the city has been making progress over the past year, Han told reporters, adding that the city government has repaired roads and street lamps, planned a new English-language education program and helped young people launch start-ups.
Asked about Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) remarks earlier in the day that Han should stop blaming others for setbacks in his “love Ferris wheel” project, Han said Lin appears to be “completely clueless” about why the project has made little progress.
The Ferris wheel, along with a shopping mall that is to be built along the river, was one of the pledges Han made during his mayoral campaign last year.
The central government is not offering money, policy support or its good wishes to Kaohsiung, he said. “Every day, it tries to block things I do and keeps making predictions about Kaohsiung going downhill.”
Lin should change his mindset and do a better job of supervising his subordinates, he added.
The project is not making progress because the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has not approved Han’s proposal, his campaign office spokeswoman Anne Wang (王淺秋) said.
The ministry has no authority to challenge the city government’s project, but it said that land rezoning is needed for the plan to proceed, Wang said.
“Either Lin really does not understand what is going on or he is pretending not to understand,” she said, adding that zoning was completed during Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu’s (陳菊) tenure as Kaohsiung mayor.
Commenting on the remark that “cybertroops” are targeting Han, Wang said that many Facebook fan groups supporting Han have been closed by the social media company after “cybertroops” falsely reported them.
Facebook should adopt more cautious measures for screening its fan groups, “or it would become a tool for the DPP to suppress freedom of speech,” she said.
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