Interesting details related to the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election
I’ve been doing some research on the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party candidates for mayor in the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election.
But first I have to issue a correction.
In a report a few days ago I incorrectly said that KMT candidate Jane Lee’s father, Li Jung-tsung (李榮宗), was previously mayor of Sanzhong.
Being the idiot that I am, I accidentally copied another name in Chinese with the same surname, KMT secretary-general Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) and ended up researching him.
That actually turned out to be interesting as well, which ended up with learning from Nathan Batto that he is the head of what remains of the Sanchung Gang.
In 1975, their candidate–who also owned the Liberty Times, which wasn’t pan-green then–was elected legislator in an infamous vote rigging election that pulled a young lawyer named Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) into the Tangwai movement.
The Tangwai movement is the precursor to the DPP in the martial law era.
Lin sued the KMT for electoral fraud.
Lin was later arrested and beaten in jail for being involved in the Kaohsiung incident, which was a pivotal protest in 1979 that led to arrests of a group of people that later went on to be key figures in the DPP, including Lin himself.
While he was in jail, an unknown assailant or assailants broke into his home and stabbed his mother and three daughters on February 28.
Only one of the daughters survived.
The massacre was clearly a political message, most likely carried out by gangsters affiliated with the KMT, because the date was the anniversary of the start of the 1947 228 uprising, which led to the KMT government killing tens of thousands.
They briefly tried to pin the murder on Australian Asia expert Bruce Jacobs, who years later I was on ICRT with doing election analysis.
He has sadly since passed away.
But I am digressing.
It turns out that Jane Lee’s father was the chief negotiator during a Kaohsiung prison hostage crisis in 2015.
He apparently went in alone, and unarmed.
A city councillor is a curious choice as a negotiator on its surface, but a corrupt politician may actually be a good choice.
He also was involved in a vote buying case to rig the vote for Kaohsiung City Council speaker.
Both he and Jane Lee used to be People’s First Party members.
Speaking of ex-PFP politicians, TPP candidate Gene Wu (吳益政) was once hardcore pro-China unification Chiu Yi’s legislative assistant.
He also got sentenced to 4 months in jail for forging assistant subsidies forms.
His son works in Froggy Chiu’s office…yes, the buttcheek chopstick assassin of the Can’t Stop This Party party that I reported on recently.
Some interesting comments on the Taiwan People’s Party
Taipei Mayor and TPP chair Ko Wen-je has made some interesting comments.
As reported in local media outlet UDN, a reporter asked Ko–who was helping campaign for Gene Wu in Kaohsiung–the following, in rough translation:
Does the TPP want to become the second biggest party in Kaohsiung?
To get rid of the KMT and absorb the more intellectual pan-blue votes?
Ko replied “of course in an election, you want to be elected in first place. However, if you want to become first, you first have to be second, then you can charge forward towards first place.”
There are some interesting things here.
I don’t have the full transcript of the interview, but it appears Ko didn’t question or comment on the “absorbing” pan-blue votes part.
No mention of absorbing pan-green votes, which in the past was a big part of his appeal–he got votes from both sides.
This suggests that suspicions that the TPP is positioning itself as a light-blue alternative to the KMT may be correct.
These comments, and past comments, make it clear that he wants the TPP to be the main opposition to the DPP, so the tilt towards light blue makes strategic sense.
By setting up the TPP, now the third biggest party, as an alternative to the KMT his party is well positioned to benefit from chaos in the KMT, especially if KMT chair Johnny Chiang fails to get his proposed reforms through.
Experienced, well connected defections from the KMT and PFP camps could grow the party significantly.
That could grow the party much faster than the New Power Party, which is working to largely grow organically with more ideologically pure candidates.
For quite some time now I’ve been very curious as to what the Chinese Communists think of Ko and the TPP.
The TPP has basically taken on the current DPP stance on cross-strait relations, but without the historical baggage and the deep green base that the DPP has, giving them more room to maneuver.
Apparently the Chinese don’t see any hope for their agenda in the TPP.
Their mouthpiece Global Times recently included this line in an article: “The Taiwan People’s Party, an extreme separatist political party of the island”
That makes their view pretty clear.
US issue warrants for Taiwanese
The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc.
They had previously all worked for Micron.
They have already received fines and received sentences in Taiwan.
Micron has huge investments in Taiwan, especially here in Taichung.
According to the Bloomberg report, however, legal experts have said there is little motivation for the three to appear in a US court, although they said that Taipei and Washington might reach an agreement to extradite them from Taiwan.
This case is important because Taiwan is both a big part of the supply chain and is a good place for companies like Micron to invest in.
That Taiwan is enforcing the laws on stealing trade secrets underlies the difference between Taiwan as an investment destination and China, which systematically steals trade secrets as state policy from investors.
Hong Kong support office and laws potentially disappoint
The Taiwan government will establish an office in Taipei on July 1 to offer humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, including those who wish to seek asylum.
The office will be under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council, a semi-official organization founded by the government in 2010 to handle communications with Hong Kong authorities.
The new Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office will have three sections, for consultation services, project management, and administration.
The office will also offer consultations to Hong Kong-based businesses and NGOs that wish to relocate to Taiwan.
In addition, the office will provide a one-stop service to Hong Kongers who wish to study, conduct business, make investments, or seek asylum in Taiwan.
In theory this sounds good, but a Wall Street Journal report said this:
“The new program, as disclosed so far, struck some Taiwanese lawyers, rights activists and Hong Kong protesters as underwhelming.
They expressed concern about the lack of specifics—such as what criteria applicants must fulfill, how they would be assessed and what specific benefits successful applicants would receive.”
Part of the problem is that Taiwan does not have a specific refugee law, and the government goes out of its way to avoid using the term in relation to people coming from Hong Kong.
Article 18 of the “Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs” allows the government to offer “necessary assistance” to people in Hong Kong and Macau whose safety and liberty are at immediate risk due to political factors.
But it doesn’t lay out what that means.
As an aside, the person in charge of drafting that law back in the 1990s happens to be Tsai Ing-wen.
Meanwhile, curiously buried at the bottom of an article on a different topic, the Taipei Times reported this:
“The Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao yesterday reported that it had received information about two main “escape routes” Hong Kong activists have used to flee to Taiwan since pro-democracy protests began in the territory in June last year.
The report lists three locations in the territory — Sai Kung Town, Aberdeen and Shau Kei Wan — where Hong Kongers are picked up by boats and taken to the Taiwan Strait, where they board another boat and are dropped off either in Hsinchu or Chiayi county, or Taichung, Tainan or Kaohsiung.
Alternatively, they are driven to Xiamen before being taken out to sea and landing in Hsinchu County, the report said.
Hong Kongers entering Taiwan in this way enlist the help of fishers, whose starting price is HK$300,000 (US$38,704) and could cost more than HK$500,000 for celebrities, it said.
Fishing boats are less prone to attract the attention of Taiwanese law enforcement, while yachts have a 80 percent chance of being inspected, the report cited fishers with knowledge of the matter as saying.
When asked for a comment, the National Immigration Agency cited a response it issued in December last year, saying that it had not received reports of stowaways from Hong Kong, but that it would keep close tabs on the situation.”
So if true, this adds a whole new wrinkle–how will the government handle Hong Kongers who have been smuggled in?
Do they have mechanisms in place for this?
Clearly these would be people who are very scared, and most likely are the ones most likely to suffer under the new incoming national security law China is set to impose on Hong Kong.
In short, these are the ones most in need of help.
There are alarmingly few answers available.
Naturally, Chinese Communist mouthpiece Global Times had some things to say about this.
“Experts from the Chinese mainland noted that the DPP authority won’t sincerely help these lawbreakers as they can only be useful if they stay in Hong Kong and interrupt the “one country, two systems” principle.
If they tried to escape, they would be useless and an encumbrance to Taiwan. Most of them have neither money nor talent, so most of them will surely be abandoned.”
It continued to add:
“No matter what Taiwan does to shelter these law breakers, they and the Taiwan separatists will be punished eventually, experts noted.”
And they quoted a so-called expert as saying:
“The more garbage that Taiwan rescues, the fewer prisons we need to jail these criminals [from Hong Kong].”