Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he would not attend any of the municipality’s city council meetings until corruption cases against newly elected council speaker Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are settled.
Lai made the announcement as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Greater Tainan councilors boycotted the interim city council meeting yesterday. DPP councilors on Sunday said Lee had called an extraordinary meeting as a pretext for not appearing in court for a case that was to be heard yesterday. Lee later denied that the calling of the extraordinary meeting was politically motivated or initiated by him.
Lai said Tainan is the mecca of democracy in Taiwan, something that residents have always been proud of.
Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Taipei Times
However, this pride has been harmed by Lee, whose position as a councilor is in question, after the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office filed corruption charges against him on Wednesday last week seeking to invalidate his victory in the city council election on Nov. 29 last year, Lai said, adding that the office has also launched an investigation into alleged ballot-buying in the council speaker election.
Lee is the first politician in the nation’s history of self-governance to be simultaneously involved in bribery charges in both city councilor and council speaker elections, Lai said, calling Lee a disgrace to Tainan. Lee had transformed Tainan City Council, a sanctuary of democracy, into a shelter, Lai added.
Lai then spoke against New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), the sole candidate for the Jan. 17 KMT chairman election, for what he described as failure to respond to public calls for change after the party’s defeat in the nine-in-one elections by choosing to stand in solidarity with Lee, a person involved in double bribery cases, when Chu visited Tainan on Sunday.
Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times
Lai also criticized Chu for speaking against the judicial system as “being manipulated by certain people.”
“Not only did he trample on the justice system, he embraced ‘black money,’” he said, referring to the alleged bribery.
“At [Monday’s] meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee, the amendment bill to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) to have council speakers and deputy council speakers elected by open registered ballots got blocked by KMT legislators. It is extremely disappointing that the KMT has again chosen to be absent on the road to reform,” Lai said.
Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Taipei Times
He said he had no choice but to support the residents of Tainan by refusing to enter the disgraced council until the cases are settled.
Lee responded by saying that the mayor’s remarks were made “on impulse,” adding that the interim council meeting was called to serve the public on various issues such as food safety, organizational restructuring and the urban-rural divide.
“There have only been instances of the city council speaking scathingly against the municipality government; it should not take place in the opposite direction,” Lee said.
As for accusations leveled by DPP Legislators Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) that funding from China was involved in the council speaker election, Lee said that if the two are willing to give up their legislative immunity, he would be “a coward if he does not dare to sue them.”
BREAKING RECORDS: Kuo Hsing-chun’s snatch, clean and jerk, and combined lifts were all Olympic records, although well off her combined world record Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) yesterday completed her elusive quest for Olympic gold, clinching Taiwan’s first win at the Tokyo Games as she set Olympic records in the women’s under-59kg weight class. Kuo, who has not lost a major competition in her weight class since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was hampered by injury and finished third, finally chased down the gold medal that had long remained just out of her grasp. The 27-year-old finished with a combined lift of 236kg — 103kg in the snatch and 133kg in the clean and jerk — 21kg more
NEXT ROUND: About 1.44 million people who have registered online to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine are to get text messages today to book a vaccine appointment Strict border control measures, including a ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting through Taiwan, are to continue, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 10 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said five of the cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending it. The sources of infection of eight cases have been identified, one remains unclear and one is under investigation, he said, adding that 87.8 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 since May 11 have been released from isolation. Chen said an
NO ‘ONE CHINA’ LIE: The appropriations act passed the US House of Representatives with a vote of 217-212, but still needs Senate approval and the president’s signature The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a foreign assistance spending bill with an amendment forbidding that funds be used to create, procure or display maps depicting Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. The amendment was introduced by five Republican representatives — Tom Tiffany, Steve Chabot, Scott Perry, Kat Cammack and Mike Gallagher — and passed unanimously in a bundle with a dozen other amendments. “This is a common sense measure,” Tiffany said, speaking on the House floor on Wednesday. “As we all know, Taiwan has never been part of communist China. The Taiwanese people elect their
THE HOME TEAM: DPP Legislator Kao Chia-yu said she canceled her booking for an AstraZeneca shot as soon as she heard that the Medigen vaccine was an option President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that she would get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Taiwan-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗). Tsai wrote on Facebook that she had registered for her first vaccine dose using the national online COVID-19 vaccination booking system, which allows people to indicate their preferred vaccine brand and to make an appointment when the shot becomes available. Tsai said that she opted for the Medigen vaccine — one of three now available on the system, along with the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines — even though Medigen has yet to deliver any doses or provide a