The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said that Ho Jianghua (何建華), a legislator-at-large nominee for the Chinese Unification Promotion Party (CUPP), could be charged with vote-buying after allegedly leading a five-day tour on which most expenses were paid by the Chinese government.
The investigation is “political persecution,” Ho said, adding that the tour was unrelated to the Jan. 11 elections.
“The participants paid the NT$7,800 cost of the five-day trip,” Ho said. “It was not vote-buying.”
Investigators said they have enough evidence of Chinese funds subsidizing the tour, which started in Kinmen and traveled via the “small three links” — from Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang (Matsu) counties — to Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province.
A cost of NT$7,800 per person only covers the airfare and other transportation costs (NT$6,600), as well as travel insurance and an administration fee (NT$1,200), leaving accommodation, meals and other expenses to be covered by Chinese funds, the investigators said.
An examination of cellphone messages showed that participants urged friends to vote for the party and its candidates in the election, and included messages that read: “Thanks to Chairwoman [Ho]” and “Hope our chairwoman gets elected,” the investigators said.
This indicated that the tour was meant to garner votes for the CUPP and Ho, they added.
Ho, 56, is a high-ranking member of the pro-China CUPP, founded by Chang An-le (張安樂).
Ho is also chairwoman of the Taipei-based Chinese Women’s Federation, a pro-China organization whose members are mostly Chinese women who married and settled in Taiwan.
The organization’s Facebook and social media pages support Taiwan’s annexation by China and other pro-Beijing views, while condemning advocates of Taiwanese independence.
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