Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday maintained that the opponents of pension reform who disrupted the Summer Universiade opening ceremony were “bastards” as he replied to a comment on Facebook.
Ko first made the remark on Sunday during a news conference after the protesters blocked foreign athletes entering the Taipei Municipal Stadium, where the ceremony was held on Saturday evening.
Ko also on Sunday posted on Facebook an aerial photograph of fireworks lighting up the sky above the stadium during the ceremony, thanking Universiade staff, volunteers, police officers and Taiwanese athletes for helping the ceremony continue smoothly, despite the incident.
Photo: Screengrab from Facebook
“Many staff members burst out in tears when the athletes were able to enter the stadium. I believe everyone has complicated emotions, but I want to quote a line from a comic: ‘The game is over if we give up now,’” he wrote. “The Universiade still has 10 days to go. I will stand with everyone. Let us do it together.”
The post received thousands of comments and more than 230,000 “likes” in 24 hours, including a comment that attracted even more attention than Ko’s post.
“You are the bastard. Being the mayor of Taipei and confidently vowing that nothing will go wrong during the Universiade, but what was the result? Who is the bastard now? We the residents of Taipei had not even asked you to pay for it,” the comment read.
It added that protesters have tried to disrupt several important international events, such as the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, but because adequate security measures were in place, the participants were able to arrive and leave safely, so the nations were not disgraced.
“Please tell all Taipei residents who the bastard is,” the netizen wrote.
Ko replied: “You and those anti-pension reform groups.”
Ko’s blunt reply attracted public attention, with many wondering whether it was written by Ko or by a member of his staff.
Later in the afternoon, Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said: “I confirmed the issue with the mayor, and the reply was indeed written by the mayor himself.”
“The mayor also mentioned that before the event, he clearly stated that the Universiade is not only Taipei’s Universiade, but also Taiwan’s, and the city government is hosting it as a national celebration, so he urged protesters not to disturb the Games, and also set up a special area for them to protest.”
“However, the mayor thinks the behavior of anti-pension reform groups that night has caused them to forfeit their legitimacy and support from the public, and disgraced the nation,” he said.
Asked whether Ko is worried about any legal repercussions, Liu said Ko will bear the responsibility for his words.
Ko’s reply had garnered more than 280,000 “likes” as of 8pm yesterday.
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