Sweargate escalates despite TV host’s apology

The China Post news staff

Apologies by TV talk show host Cheng Hung-yi have apparently failed to prevent his use of sexist profanity during a rally from developing into a political storm. Premier Wu Deh-yih of the ruling Kuomintang yesterday called for Cheng to stop lying and dismissed his apology as not heartfelt. Wu pointed out that the policy of subsidizing mainland Chinese students in Taiwan, which Cheng criticized President Ma Ying-jeou for while rallying for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taichung, was actually launched by former President Lee Teng-hui in 1996. The policy was not only continued but also enlarged by Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s top China affairs official during the DPP government and now the party’s chairwoman, Wu said. The Mainland Affairs Council had clarified on the origin of the policy to Cheng before and Cheng had corrected his stance on the issue yet he kept on lying about it, Wu said. “Cheng and I have been acquainted for a long time, but now I found myself know him less and less,” said Wu. Wu also urged Tsai to express her opinion and stance on the matter. It is proper for Tsai, who is a woman and the DPP chairperson and served as the MAC chief who upgraded the subsidies, to remain silent, Wu added. Eric Chu of the KMT, Tsai’s opponent in the Xinbei City mayoral election, also expressed the need for Tsai to comment on the “sweargate” as a candidate and a party leader.

Wu and Chu’s remarks came in line with the request by the Presidential Office for Tsai to “stop dodging” and make her stance clear. In response, Tsai said that Cheng’s choice of words was wrong but he had already apologized, adding that the society does not need people leveling reproaches to each other. She said that the Straits Exchange Foundation Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) also used “fairly bad words” to insult her before but she did not asked for Ma’s apology as the KMT chairman or the president.

At the rally for DPP’s Taichung mayoral candidate Su Jia-chuan on Sunday, Cheng used a Taiwanese phrase that includes the mention of one’s mother and a certain Taiwanese word meaning sex when criticizing Ma. He also called Ma a “son of a turtle,” a pejorative term similar to “son of a bitch” in English, for the president’s position on the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Cheng apologized Monday for swearing publicly and stressed that he was not trying to insult the president, his family or women in general. He emphasized that his sworn to criticize Ma preferential policy to mainland China.