Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday accused President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of failing to restrain Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members and online supporters from insulting the late Kaohsiung City Council speaker Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源), who died on Saturday night.
Hsu’s body was found after he apparently fell from his 17th-floor apartment, just a few hours after Kaohsiung residents voted to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), whom Hsu had strongly supported.
Chiang led attendees at a meeting at the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei in a minute of silence for Hsu before the meeting started.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Han’s recall and Hsu’s death were two hard pills to swallow for KMT members during a time filled with sorrows, worries and anger, Chiang said.
However, while Hsu’s death saddened his supporters and people close to him, a DPP councilor ridiculed his death with inappropriate remarks, Chiang said, referring to comments made by DPP Taipei City Councilor Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) on Sunday on Facebook.
Describing Hsu’s death as “horrifying,” Liang added: “Were the bets that high?” — an apparent reference to rumors that Hsu had engaged in underground gambling on the results of the recall election.
The post sparked heated online discussions about whether Hsu was involved in any illicit activities, and Liang quickly deleted the post.
He has since repeatedly apologized for making “baseless accusations.”
Chiang called on Tsai, who is also DPP chairperson, to hold DPP members accountable, and to stop allowing misinformation and slanderous comments surrounding Hsu to spread on the Internet.
“How can anyone continue to blacken a person’s name after he died? Is this the democracy of Taiwan? Is this what we want to teach the next generation?” Chiang said.
Tsai should launch an investigation into who had made groundless comments through fake accounts, he said.
Chiang pledged to carry the KMT through the difficult time, adding that the party must turn sadness into motivation in the face of the election of a new city council speaker and a mayoral by-election in Kaohsiung.
The KMT would demonstrate its resolve in reforming the party, and those who choose to lick the party while it is down “might as well just leave,” he added.
The party’s candidate for council speaker would be vetted thoroughly to ensure that they would work well with other KMT councilors and those non-KMT councilors friendly to the party, he said.
He had consulted Hsu’s wife on the issue on Sunday, he said.
As for the by-election, which Chiang called a crucial opportunity for the KMT to continue making contributions to Kaohsiung, the party was still searching for the best candidate, he said.
In other developments, Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said that the DPP has expressed its condolences to Hsu’s family, and the authorities are continuing to investigate his death.
No one should ever make unfair remarks at the expense of the dead, Ting said.
Additional reporting by Su Yung-yao
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