By Christine Chou ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A 16-year-old teenage celebrity stole the show near polling day, stirring up angry sentiments that likely propelled more people to vote in favor of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), known to take a more skeptical stance on maintaining cozy relations with Beijing.
Reminiscent of the assassination attempt on former-President Chen Shui-bian in 2004, the K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu’s (周子瑜) flag-waving incident had a strong emotional impact on the Taiwanese people. The video clip of her “forced” apology released on Friday went viral and attracted millions of views. The controversy makes the ground even shakier for the so-called “1992 Consensus,” which is endorsed by the KMT and mainland China as the basis for cross-strait relations, but is not endorsed by the DPP. “Those pretending to be asleep cannot be woken up,” said Tsai in a previous comment on her challenger Eric Chu.
The KMT and Beijing have long called for peace and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, often choosing to forestall and tone down conflicts on sensitive cross-strait issues. Ma-Xi Meeting This culminated in the Ma-Xi meeting in Singapore last November, which was speculated to be an attempt by Ma Ying-jeou to sway election results.
Time and time again, Tsai has apparently circumvented the “1992 Consensus,” interpreting it as one option among many. This became a point of attack for the KMT, calling out Tsai for publicly stating a clear stance on Taiwan-China relations. Mud-slinging over Land Scandals Chu’s running mate Jennifer Wang (王如玄) and Tsai were both involved in controversies relating to their alleged real estate investments.
Wang was deeply hurt by attacks over her investing in housing units intended for military dependents. In a bid to appease the public, Wang eventually admitted she had generated profits totaling NT$13.8 million through the housing transactions, and announced she would donate the gains. Not long after the DPP’s pursuit of Wang over her housing dealings, Tsai found herself under KMT scrutiny for several land purchases she had reportedly made in Taipei’s Neihu District. Legislators claimed that Tsai purchased 15 plots of land totaling 271 pings in 1988, while she was an associate professor at National Chengchi University. The property was reportedly sold nine years later, and Tsai allegedly reaped profits of at least NT$180 million.
In response to the allegations, Tsai filed a lawsuit against three KMT legislators for violating the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act. However, in statistics released following the outbreak of Tsai’s alleged land speculation controversy, the DPP chairwoman still maintained a steady lead in polls.