Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has harmed the nation’s democracy by making false accusations and generating fabricated news, members of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) election campaign office said yesterday, urging the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate to stop such acts in the New Year.
Han made insinuations and exaggerated claims to attack Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), office spokeswoman Yan Juo-fang (顏若芳) said.
“Han has done so at media briefings, political rallies, and at televised policy presentations and the presidential debate. He used every public appearance as an opportunity to generate rumors, make false accusations and spread misinformation, which have become too many to count,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Cheng Chao-fang
New Taipei City Councilor and DPP spokesperson Ho Po-wen (何博文) said that Han has resorted to vilifying his opponents in the presidential race, adding that “Han is showing the worst-case example for a democratic society.”
Yan and Ho listed 12 topics, which they said were “among Han’s innumerable fake news and disinformation,” to clarify them to the public and rebuke Han “by presenting the facts, with accurate figures and information.”
The first was Han’s remark during Sunday’s presidential debate that Germany regrets and wants to reverse its decision to abandon nuclear power due to its energy requirements.
The German Institute in Taipei issued a statement the next day, saying that the plan to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 remains unchanged, while Germany plans to increase the output of renewable energy.
The decision has received support from the German public across the political spectrum, it added.
Han has also claimed that “40,000 companies will be bankrupt in Taiwan in 2019.”
However, Yan said that 11,522 shell companies were de-registered on suspicion of involvement in international money laundering, while 30,871 new businesses and factories opened last year, indicating growth, citing Ministry of Economic Affairs data.
Han and KMT officials have claimed that total investment by local firms returning from China and other countries was zero, and that the DPP government has deceived the public by saying they would invest NT$700 billion (US$23.25 billion).
Yan said ministry statistics show that investments by returning companies totaled NT$709.7 billion as of Dec. 12, adding that top KMT officials have also confirmed an influx of Taiwanese businesses returning home to set up new operations and production facilities.
Regarding the government’s announcement that the number of foreign visitors would reach 11.11 million last year, Han claimed that the government inflated the figure by counting transit passengers.
However, the Tourism Bureau had confirmed the figure, Yan said, adding that transit passengers have not been included in the tallies for more than 10 years.
Also on the list was Han’s claim that the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement’s 10-year term had expired, which ministry officials disputed, saying that it is still in effect.
When campaigning for mayor 2018, Han said that he planned to drill for oil in the waters off Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島), but later denied making such a promise, Yan said.
During televised policy presentations and the presidential debate, Han claimed that “the DPP’s coffers are connected to the state treasury” to access secret funds, as KMT reportedly did during the one-party era, and that “Tsai has surrounded herself with corrupt officials.”
However, Ho said there is no evidence for either claim, and Han did not substantiate his accusations or name any officials.
“According to the official government registry, the DPP’s property holdings all came from proper transactions between private citizens and companies, while 69.64 percent of the KMT’s property holdings came from public properties and lands, which used to belong to the government,” Ho said. “It is in fact the KMT’s coffers that are connected to the state treasury.”
Han also claimed that “the Tsai government has not given a single cent to the Kaohsiung City Government since he assumed the mayor’s post.
However, “we have official information from the Ministry of Finance showing that central government’s Tax Redistribution Fund had given NT$31 billion to Kaohsiung in 2019, and the allocation has been increased to NT$31.8 billion for 2020,” Ho said.
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