Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) lashed out at the media during the televised presidential debate on Sunday because the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate is a “long-time victim” of “irresponsible news” and he was “making a stand against injustice,” his campaign office spokeswoman Anne Wang (王淺秋) said yesterday.
During the question-and-answer segment of the debate, the Apple Daily asked Han about the allegation that he gave NT$6 million (US$199,104 at the current exchange rate) to a female friend to buy real estate, to which Han responded by calling the Chinese-language media company “extremely low-class” for probing into his private life.
“Why don’t you ask at what age I lost my virginity?” he said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
When the Central News Agency asked how he planned to establish good cross-strait relations, Han said that the question was “too narrow” with respect to Taiwan’s status “by tying itself up with political ideology.”
Han also lashed out at SET-TV, saying that all it does is “spread rumors and slander people.”
The freedom of the press is a universal value, but it does not entitle the media to deliver any report without boundaries, Wang said yesterday, adding that news reports should be made in accordance with democratic values, moral principles, fact verification and objectivity.
While Han respects the freedom of the press, he also believes that reports should be verified before being released, she said, adding that many reports about Han have been incorrect or biased.
As a “long-time victim” of “irresponsible news” and unverified news reports, Han was making a point that media outlets should be held responsible for their content, she said.
“As the fourth pillar of democracy, the media should be held in check as well,” Wang added.
The office also denied that Han used a swear word during a rally in Taichung on Sunday, saying that the microphone might have picked up the voice of someone else.
Video of the rally released by Chinese-language media appeared to show Han saying a Chinese word with a similar meaning to “fuck” in English when accusing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of being corrupt.
When asked about it, Wang denied Han used the swear word.
“We did not see any footage showing Han’s face when the word was heard and we tried to figure out where it came from,” she said at KMT headquarters.
“Perhaps it was just a voice the microphone picked up that had a similar sound [to the word],” she added.
Asked about Han’s remark during the debate that former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was too “soft” during his presidency, Wang said Han had no intention of criticizing Ma.
It was “a slip of the tongue” and harbored no ill intention against Ma, she said.
“What [Han] meant was that Ma was great in every aspect — no corruption, very professional and everything. However, he is relatively soft, meaning he is soft-hearted and kind,” she said.
In an apparent attempt to appease Ma, three hours after the debate, Han published a Facebook post praising Ma for being “a politician with integrity.”
The DPP has taken advantage of Ma’s kindness and soft heart, and continued to shift the blame to him, Han wrote, adding: “I believe this is unfair to Ma.”
Ma’s office said it does not understand why Han made the criticism.
Many of Han’s policy plans — including those on national security, cross-strait affairs, energy and the economy — are a continuation of the policies implemented by Ma, indicating that the two men share many of the same views about the nation’s trajectory, the office said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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