The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not been looking good lately. From the outlandish remarks coming from its presidential candidate, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), and his wife, Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), to its bizarre official response to last week’s police-shoving incident, it seems as if the party’s members are saying every wrong thing possible.
The latest offender is former Miaoli County commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), who at a campaign event for KMT Legislator Hsu Chih-jung (徐志榮) on Sunday made disparaging remarks against the LGBT community and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Liu said he is “very worried” that one day he would have to ask his son: “Are you marrying a man or a woman?”
“President Tsai Ing-wen, it is fine if you do not want to get married. Do not jeopardize so many people,” he added.
That is offensive on so many levels, but Liu’s stance is not surprising, as he has always had a questionable reputation and need not be taken seriously. However, he was attending a campaign event that represented the KMT as a whole.
The party’s response showed that it condones Liu’s views and personal attack on Tsai. KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Cheng Mei-hua (程美華) said that the party respects everyone’s opinions on the matter, even though it is a human rights matter.
The party needs the votes, and after all it was their opponent who legalized same-sex marriage in May. Plus, the majority of people did vote against LGBT rights during last year’s national referendums.
Using discrimination and hatred in campaign platforms seems to be an alarming worldwide trend, and Taiwan is no exception. This has long been evident: When same-sex marriage was legalized in May, KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and others protested the law, saying: “If you vote for the KMT in 2020, we will change the laws back.” In an event to honor exemplary fathers in October, former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said: “If you vote for the wrong person, there might no longer be events to honor exemplary fathers, because we would not know if the father is male or female.” Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) also caused a stir, saying in October that same-sex marriage would lead to humankind’s extinction.
Meanwhile, despite his gaffes, Han had refrained from commenting on the issue since he launched his campaign. When he finally did two weeks ago, his answer made absolutely no sense: “I hope that all the lovers in the world can be together, but we still need to support family values.” However, he is known to have supported the anti-LGBT referendums during his campaign for Kaoshiung mayor last year, and his wife has made erroneous comments that elementary-school children were being taught about anal sex and orgasms.
Interestingly, Lee also said last month that same-sex marriage has been “overly exploited” and that Han would “review everything” if he is elected. Whatever Lee means, she is right in a sense — politicians from her husband’s party have been exploiting the LGBT community’s dignity and basic human rights to attack the current administration, sway people’s emotions and garner support.
The presidential election on Jan. 11 is very important to the nation’s future, and there are many other issues that should be considered when choosing a candidate instead of trying to undo what has already been done — if even legally possible — which would just waste more public resources and put Taiwan to shame internationally after it was lauded for the achievement.
The US intelligence community’s annual threat assessment for this year certainly cannot be faulted for having a narrow focus or Pollyanna perspective. From a rising China, Russian aggression and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to climate change, future pandemics and the growing reach of international organized crime, US intelligence analysis is as comprehensive as it is worrying. Inaugurated two decades ago as a gesture of transparency and to inform the public and the US Congress, the annual threat assessment offers the intelligence agencies’ top-line conclusions about the country’s leading national-security threats — although always in ways that do not compromise “sources and methods.”
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