How do they speak? — A breakdown of presidential hopefuls’ speeches

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) raises her fist at a rally in New Taipei City on Jan. 5, 2020. (CNA)
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) raises her fist at a rally in New Taipei City on Jan. 5, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — When it comes to the art of persuasion, presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) adopts a more flowery rhetoric than incumbent Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

In an analysis published by award-winning investigative news organization The Reporter, Han uses a lot of metaphors and comparisons, some of which have been viewed as misogynistic or outlandish.

By contrast, Tsai adopts a more straight-forward and rational language that fits right into the typical stereotype of her academic background.

The Reporter combed through more than ten months-worth of data of speeches collected from more than 14 rallies, policy-presentations, and presidential debates.

In terms of choice of words, the review found that Tsai repeatedly throws out terms like “freedom”, “democracy”, and “human rights”. These democratic values are viewed proudly by Taiwanese as what differentiates them from its autocratic neighbor, China.

This finding goes side by side with a survey conducted by local research and news organization READr, which shows that democracy and freedom are two things that weigh the most on the mind of Tsai’s supporters.

As for Han, the review found that when criticizing his opponents, the Kaohsiung City mayor used frequently “no moral values”, “incompetent”, and “addicted to power.”

When talking about himself, he would say that he is the victim of a smear campaign, launched by members of the press as well as his opponents.

Another criticism that appeared often is that Tsai and her administration are addicted to power.

Worth noting is that while Han has alleged on any occasions that Tsai refuses to call the country by its official name “Republic of China” as stated in its constitution, the review found that she has referred to the self-governed island as “Republic of China, Taiwan” several times.

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