TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Saturday (Nov. 18) apologized for referring to Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) as "a fat sow."
While attending a non-public event held to support KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) on Friday (Nov. 17), Wu indirectly referred to Chen when he said that his late friend, former Examination Yuan member Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英), lost the 2006 Kaoshsiung mayoral race to a woman who used a tricky way to win. Chen defeated Huang in the 2006 Kaohsiung Mayoral race, after he was unable to shake rumors that he sent people to pay bribes for votes.
He then said, "I won't say who this person is, very fat, the really fat one, walks like a big fat sow."
That same day Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that it was a pity to see a political leader use such vulgar language. Lin said the Presidential Office believes that the opposition chairman should apologize to the nation for this and called on the opposition to stop this kind of verbal bullying.
Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for the Kaohsiung mayoral race, said he was "very sad and very angry, to see the KMT using such terrible language to insult a woman.
Wu rushed to write a written statement that evening, but the outrage continued to intensify. After receiving criticism from KMT netizens, Wu held a press conference on Saturday (Nov. 18) to apologize and said, "I misspoke, this is a fact, but I should not talk about the teammates." Wu went on to say that in every game there is the pitcher, batter, and defensive team, but that he had let the whole team down.
At a rally to support Chen Chi-mai held in Kaohsiung's Gangshan District on Saturday, Chen Chu said, "We are the descendants of Taiwanese with ambition and a backbone. We do not want these kind of rotten people." She clarified that during her 12 year tenure as mayor of Kaohsiung, she had received the support of 70 percent of the voters for her city government.
Chen Chu said Wu was trying ruin the election with his crude bullying. She said she hoped that Kaohsiung citizens would stand up for Chen Chi-mai.
Chen Chu said that she had been bullied in the past, but she did not put any stock in it. Chen Chu said that all she cared about was fighting together with the 2.77 million citizens of Kaohsiung to stand up and move forward to transform the city. She added that, "they can insult Chen Chu, but they can't insult Kaohsiung."
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday said that it was a pity to see Wu use such tasteless language to criticize Chen Chu. Tsai said that Chen Chu risked her life to fight for Taiwan's democracy during the authoritarian era.
Tsai said she was suppressed and discredited by the KMT in the past and was also tried by the KMT under martial law and put into a political prison. Now, 40 years later, Chen is assaulted for her gender and appearance, which is a flagrant smear of the people of Taiwan, said Tsai.
Tsai also characterized the speech as humiliating to women, saying, "I am angry, and I also feel very sad." Tsai said that this is more worrying for Taiwan's democratic development, "The Democracy we are desperately striving for is constantly being hurt by such personal attacks and the false news created by the internet army."
Tsai concluded that this election is a battle for Democratic values and appealed to voters to stand up for democracy.