Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) last night apologized for having publicly used the word “bastard” (混蛋), which he said was not directed at any specific person.
Lien on Monday, at a meeting held by the Alliance of Anti-Independence Chinese, unleashed a torrent of abuse against independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) — the main opponent for his son, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), in the next Saturday’s election — saying Ko is a third-generation descendant of a man who served the Japanese colonial government.
“I absolutely cannot stand the thought of having someone whose grandfather changed his surname to a Japanese one during the Japanese colonial era as mayor of Taipei. He [Ko] calls himself a commoner and us the privileged few, but I call him a ‘bastard,’” Lien Chan said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
His remarks have since drawn criticism from historians, including even KMT member Chiu Fu-sheng (邱復生), who expressed his surprise at Lien Chan publicly calling Ko a “bastard,” adding it was hard to respect Lien Chan anymore and that “elections are like drugs and can make people crazy.”
Lien Chan last night, at a campaign rally, said the word “bastard” had been intended to criticize people dividing and polarizing society every time an election surfaces and not any particular person.
He said that after reflection, his words “were strong and inappropriate” and that he would like to apologize for the comments, which he said had been misinterpeted.
In other developments, Sean Lien yesterday said that he has been a victim of cyberbullying for nearly a year since he threw his hat into the ring, and that it is becoming severe.
Speaking to a group of religious leaders yesterday to canvass votes for next Saturday’s election, Sean Lien said he has been able to withstand all the cyberbullying done through anonymous attacks, showing that he can work well under pressure, a capability he said a leader of the city needs to have.
“We have seen the darkest and most despicable side of humanity in the [run-up to the] election. Every time there is an election, there emerges vilification, rumors and tricks, dirty tricks. These tactics are not something the next generation should be learning,” Sean Lien said.
In response to media inquires regarding a report in yesterday’s Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) that the KMT has asked the Executive Yuan to help boost the turnout of a parade to support Sean Lien today by mobilizing 10,000 people, Sean Lien said that he was not aware of any such action.
Sean Lien said he has had many text messages recently from supporters saying they would join the parade.
“Most of them will join us spontaneously,” he said.
The first of the two televised forums held by the city’s election commission for the seven mayoral candidates to deliver their policy platforms is scheduled for today, followed by the second one on Wednesday.
Sean Lien said he would not be able to join the forum today because of the parade, but he added that he would make sure to attend the second one.
Today’s parade is scheduled to begin at 2pm at the Taipei City Hall plaza, from where it is to march toward Ketalagan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building along Renai Road.
It is to be followed by a rally at the boulevard at 4pm, according to Sean Lien’s campaign office.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman, is also scheduled to join the parade, it added.
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