Have you been enjoying the flood of campaign leaflets flowing through your letterbox? I’m living near the boundary between the 5th and 8th electoral districts, so have been getting a range. One particular leaflet released by KMT candidate Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) caught my eye, as the entire thing was dedicated to smearing Lin’s rival for the 5th electoral district of Taipei, Freddy Lim (founding leader of the New Power Party (時代力量) and lead singer of heavy-metal band Chthonic):
The front side of the leaflet poses a question to Lim:
I want to ask Freddy Lim: “Why did you burn our national flag?”
Then below are featured various Facebook quotes from Lim, such as:
Seeing the “tyre flag” (the fucking Republic of China national flag) finally being pulled down in London, I’ve just got one thing to say: “I’m thrilled!”.
As well as:
The Republic of China national flag is not the Taiwanese national flag, so if anyone wants to desecrate the Republic of China national flag, I wouldn’t just refrain from having a go at him, I would encourage him!”
The other side of the leaflet is again dominated by an attack on Lim:
The back of the leaflet then asks Lim:
If you hate the Republic of China flag so much, why do you want to stand for election as a Republic of China legislator?
It then lists specific incidents of Lim desecrating the national flag:
2003 : After a concert he ripped up a Republic of China flag on stage.
Feb. 11, 2007: He wrote online: “Burning a flag on stage”, and added, “I’ve hated this national flag” for “decades”.
July 25, 2012: He wrote on Facebook: “If anyone wants to desecrate the Republic of China national flag, I wouldn’t just refrain from having a go at him, I would encourage him!”
July 25, 2012: During the London Olympics, when the Republic of China national flag was taken down from the streets of London due to pressure from the Communist Party of China, he wrote online that on seeing “the fucking Republic of China national flag” being taken down, he only had one thing to say “I’m thrilled!”
July 8, 2015: When attending a forum he said that “heavily made up he screamed while scattering josh paper and burning the national flag!”
Only then does Lin Yu-fang, the man behind the leaflet, feature. There’s a picture of him “proclaiming sovereignty over Taiping Island” (Taiping is one of many disputed islands in the South China Sea which the Republic of China claims) and the tagline:
“Lin Yu-fang, defending the Republic of China, deserving of your trust”
You’d be hard-pushed to recognize the Freddy Lim featured on Lin Yu-fang’s leaflets from Lim’s own campaign ads, as he seems to have gone for a more clean-cut look, no doubt to woo older voters:Lim has been endorsed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen. Lin is clearly trying to put forward the idea that voting for non-KMT candidates will endanger Taiwan’s international standing and portray Lim as reckless and extreme. The rhetorical questions are pretty effective ways to do this despite the Catch 22 logic that lies behind the second: Lin Yu-fang asks why Lim wants to become part of the Republic of China political machine if he doesn’t acknowledge its sovereignty. But if you think about it for a moment, there’s no way to change the system unless you take part in it (even Sinn Fein have taken their seats in the Northern Ireland assembly, despite their continued boycott of Westminster). Lim clearly doesn’t believe that he is burning his national flag and identifies only with Taiwan, not the Republic of China.
Even those people who can get behind Lim’s disenchantment with the Republic of China conception of nationhood may be swayed by Lin’s smear campaign if they think the act of flag-burning makes Lim look like a petulant child (even though it happened quite a long time ago). However, smearing the other candidate suggests a certain amount of childishness and, worse still, a lack of ideas of one’s own, so it’ll be interesting to see how voters react.
Lim and seven other candidates from minority, independent and DPP candidates are being supported by the DPP and Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je (an independent candidate himself) against KMT candidates, in what has been called variously the “Capitol Progressive Alliance” and the “Capital Forward Alliance” (首都進步大聯盟). The Frozen Garlic Blog (the name of which is a literal translation of the how the Taiwanese word for “to be elected” 當選 tòng-sóan sounds in Mandarin 凍蒜 （dong4suan4 / ㄉㄨㄥˋ ㄙㄨㄢˋ） has a good piece on this here and does a spectacular job of election and campaign coverage in general.
Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元) is running in my district, Taipei’s eighth electoral district (Wenshan District + Zhongzheng District Li 10/文山區 中正區10里), while Freddy Lim is running in the neighbouring fifth electoral district (Wanhua District + Zhongzheng District Li 21/萬華區 中正區21里). And I’ve also seen posters from Taipei’s sixth electoral district (Daan District), which is pitting incumbent KMT candidate Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) against independent Pang Wei-liang (龎維良) and Social Democratic Party candidate Fan Yun (范雲). Fan is actually the candidate backed by the Capitol Progressive Alliance, although I couldn’t find her poster in the area of Daan District I was in (I think I was on the margins). From what I could see Chiang seems quite confident of victory, as I could only see one banner by him in a side-street, whereas Pang was everywhere.
Lee Ching-yuan was expelled from the KMT in July, along with four other members for their opposition to the now aborted presidential campaign of Hung Hsiu-chu. Another of these former KMT members, Yang Shih-chiu, is running in Taipei’s seventh electoral district (Hsin-yi District + Songshan District Li 13/信義區 松山區13里). I’ve been taking some photos of the campaign posters while I’ve been out and about. See below for translations of their slogans:
Feel free to submit campaign leaflets or posters that you’re curious about from your district that you would like featured on the blog.
On a side note, the dates of the VP and Presidential candidate debates have been announced as follows:
— Conor Stuart (@ladenframe) December 21, 2015
The VP debate is also at 2pm.
There’s also a handy website (only in Chinese) for sussing out which electoral district you are in – check it out here.