‘Extreme politics’ dragging support: Ko

INDISCREET?:Asked whether his recent comments were affecting his popularity, the Taipei mayor compared the local political environment to extreme climate change

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Sep 10, 2019 - Page 3

Losing more than 150,000 supporters on Facebook in a month demonstrates the unstable nature of Taiwan’s “extreme politics,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

The number of people who “like” Ko’s Facebook page dropped below 2 million on Saturday, with more than 150,000 accounts removing their support between Aug. 1 and Sunday night.

Asked whether he thought his “indiscreet remarks” might have fueled the sharp drop, Ko said that he has been engaged in self-reflection, noting that his Facebook page also gained about 150,000 “likes” in one month after he won his re-election bid last year.

He said that the ideal Taiwanese society he has in mind is resilient and stable, not like the prevailing “extreme politics,” which is similar to extreme climate change.

“The number of fans [on Facebook] can rise and fall suddenly and sharply,” Ko said. “This is like a person suddenly turning fat and then thin, which is not healthy.”

Ko has said on numerous occasions that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) inspiring a “Han wave” and winning last year’s mayoral election is an example of the nation’s “extreme politics.”

Asked about Han’s remark on Sunday that his “Taiwanese values” are democracy and freedom, Ko said that democracy and freedom naturally form the core of Taiwanese values, but Han should explain if there are other values.

Ko has also repeatedly questioned President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) about her “Taiwanese values” and once said her answer was “nonsense.”

Asked about Han’s comment that “Tsai is receiving blood while Hong Kong is bleeding,” implying that Tsai has benefited from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Ko said that speaking frankly might be good in some occasions, but one should be careful and hold to a consistent principle when making comments about cross-strait relations.