torsdag 9. januar 2020

Taiwan's China-friendly presidential hopeful faces backlash in divided south

In balmy southern Taiwan, with its rural hamlets, industrial belts and slower-paced cities, a rising tide of residents are pushing back against opposition presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu, fearing he’ll sell out core Taiwan interests to China.

Han, the mayor of the south’s biggest city of Kaohsiung, had been expected to build his support base over the past year since winning office on a promise to help citizens “make a big fortune” by forging better economic ties with China. Instead, as he prepares for the election on Saturday against incumbent president Tsai Ing-wen and her independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), he has seen his fortunes wane, hammered by criticism over controversial public remarks and failing to deliver on campaign promises, including oil exploration in the South China Sea.

Last month, a coalition of groups called “Wecare Kaohsiung” held a mass anti-Han rally that drew tens of thousands, some holding signs with the words “Dismiss pro-Communist mayor”.