KMT lawmakers take boxing lessons, seriously
After occupying the Legislative Yuan for only 20 hours before being overrun by DPP lawmakers during their protest of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nomination of Chen Chu (陳菊) to head the Control Yuan, former Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) announced over Facebook on Wednesday that he and four other KMT legislators had taken boxing classes.
Yes, you heard that correctly, boxing classes.
According to Eric Chu, they took boxing lessons in order to get stronger in preparation for future fights.
Chu’s office also released photos and video of the KMT members during their training, adding that future classes will cover rock climbing and flywheel training.
As the Taiwan News put it: “Taiwanese netizens were quick to poke fun at the KMT’s very short occupation of the legislature and the ineffectiveness of KMT legislators, which caused members within the party to come up with the idea to take boxing classes to show the public their tough side.
KMT party members also noted that Chu a few days earlier had said that there was a need for checks and balances in a democratic society and that there should be opposition to one-party dominance.”
Well, using boxing skills to punch the crap out of people is definitely an original take on representative democracy.
Up next: Legislative caucus gladiator fights!
Eric Chu is a former KMT party chair, and is widely suspected of planning to run again for the post in May next year.
Perhaps his boxing skills will help him subdue his opponents.
Do you think this is silly, or is the KMT boxing clever?
Kaohsiung mayoral by-election poll suggests a blowout
Finally we have polling on the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election.
Conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, the poll suggests a blowout in the making.
Asked who they support, 54.6% opted for the DPP’s Chen Chi-mai.
Jane Lee (李眉蓁) was second with 14.4% support, and the Taiwan Power Party candidate Gene Wu (吳益政) got only 4%.
A surprisingly low 13.7% were undecided, and even if all of those went for Jane Lee it would still be a massive landslide.
Interestingly, 13.3% said they wouldn’t vote, or would cast a spoiled ballot.
When asked about who they approve of, 62.2% said they approve of Chen, 20.6% approved of Lee and 14.1% approved of Wu.
If this poll is at all accurate, this is dreadful news for the KMT and party chair Johnny Chiang, who is trying hard to sell party reforms to members in time for the party congress in September.
If this election goes as badly as the polling suggests on August 15, Chiang will be under strong pressure to resign to take responsibility.
Most of the party elite heavyweights have come out against his reform and have mobilized against him.
None have formally endorsed his plans.
If he is forced out, that would be a big blow to plans to reform the KMT.
In short, he and Jane Lee have six weeks to turn this around.
Chiang doesn’t need her to win, she only needs to produce a respectable result.
Meanwhile, in response to the Hong Kong security law, Jane Lee announced she would continue with recalled mayor Dan Han Kuo-yu’s “Hong Kong village” plans.
Lu and the KMT go to war with govt over power plant
The battle between the administration of Mayor Lu Shiow-yen and the central government has exploded politically and turned personal.
Taipower, as it had been signalling it would, last week restarted the coal-fired unit 2 at the Taichung Power Plant.
Taichung has been maintaining that that is illegal under a Taichung law, and that the city had revoked the permit for that unit to operate.
The national EPA overruled the city, and backed Taipower.
Taipower’s stance is that the unit is needed during the peak summer months, when pollution is low and air conditioning causes a spike in demand.
Mayor Lu maintains it is a threat to the health of central Taiwan residents, and that she is backed by public opinion.
The city government last week fined Taipower NT$2 million for restarting the No. 2 generator, followed by a heavier NT$20 million fine on Monday.
The city also sent a formal case to prosecutors to go after the Taipower chairman, and have threatened to also go after key employees.
A Taipower spokesperson said Taipower would consider appealing the fines if city officials insist it be paid and added that they thought that the Taichung City Government was engaged in unlawful procedures and abuse of power.
Taiwan Power Co chairman Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) yesterday called for a return to rule of law and professionalism, saying that he would take “personal responsibility” if the Taichung City Government insists on taking legal action against Taipower personnel.
He added the city government’s possible legal action against Taipower personnel was unacceptable, adding that he would cooperate with any investigation, as he considers protecting company staff part of his duty as chairman.
Many have rallied to Mayor Lu, almost entirely from fellow KMT members.
The county commissioners of Nantou and Changhua, both of the KMT, have joined her in opposition to the restarting of unit 2.
The three of them went to pay a call on two Taichung city councillors who were conducting a hunger strike outside of the Taichung Power Plant.
However, one hour before they arrived, one passed out after 28 hours without food and was hospitalized.
A second was forcibly hospitalized after 47 hours.
KMT chair Johnny Chiang, who is from Taichung, accused the central government of using Taichunger’s lungs to produce electricity.
DPP politicians accused the KMT of playing partisan games and Mayor Lu’s administration of not being professional.
In this case, the DPP is right: This is pure political theatre.
Mayor Lu and the KMT know that turning on unit 2 is unpopular–a recent Tunghai University poll showed 70% of Taichungers were against it.
So, the KMT has a winning issue and are milking it for all it is worth.
Even better for the KMT, the DPP simply can’t win on this.
This year records have been set for both temperatures and energy use.
If they didn’t restart unit 2, there would be a chance of blackouts, which would cause public fury…directed at the DPP.
But if they do turn it back on, which they did, 70% of Taichungers blame them.
Taichungers are fed up with the Taichung Power Plant.
It is the nation’s largest stationary source of air pollution, and is a very significant contributor to air pollution in the city.
While city residents have to breath the pollution, decisions are made on their behalf in Taipei, which has much cleaner air.
So Mayor Lu used this issue as her main campaign theme in 2018, in spite of the fact that there is little the city government can do.
Her constant battles with the central government over this are both to emphasize to the voters she’s in their corner, and probably out of desperation.
She’s down near the bottom of the list in popularity nationally, and if the public doesn’t perceive the air as being much better in 2022, she’s going to have big problems winning re-election.
Hong Kong national security law goes into effect
Yesterday, on July 1–the anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China in 1997–China’s new repressive national security law went into effect.
This oppressive law will allow China to bypass Hong Kong courts, and sets up their own security apparatus in the city.
It also allows for them to arrest and prosecute anyone, anywhere on the planet who criticizes the PRC who enters Hong Kong.
On the same day Taiwan opened the Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office.
The office is tasked with helping Hong Kongers who plan to study, work, invest, start a business or settle in Taiwan.
The office has a staff of 20 and is equipped with 20 telephone lines that offer services in Cantonese.
Curiously, the office’s name plaque uses a font often seen on Hong Kong’s shop signs.
That is apparently to show the government’s expectation of fostering positive interactions with Hong Kongers.
President Tsai on Tuesday “I feel extremely disappointed (over the law’s passage), which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong.”
The KMT also expressed their opposition to the new law.