Han Kuo-yu offers core campaign message at mass rally in New Taipei

Rally for KMT candidate begins with gaffe as Han forces Ma Ying-jeou from stage mid-speech

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu speaks at KMT rally in New Taipei, Sept. 8

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu speaks at KMT rally in New Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Koumintang (KMT) presidential nominee Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) spoke before a massive rally of “Han fans” in New Taipei on Sunday (Sept. 8) where he declared the four fundamental aspects of his presidential campaign message.

Organizers of the rally held at Sanchong (三重) District’s Xingfu Shuiyang Park (幸福水漾公園) claimed that the event drew over 350,000 people out to show support for the KMT candidate, although police offered no estimate on crowd size. The rally was also joined by former President Ma Ying-jeou and KMT Chairman Wu Den-Yih (吳敦義) along with a host of influential KMT members throwing their support behind the nominee whose popularity has been waning in recent weeks, according to polls.

Like many of Han’s recent public appearances, it began with a gaffe as he burst onto stage earlier than expected in the middle of Ma Ying-jeou’s introductory remarks, which had already been delayed for unknown reasons. Han’s sudden appearance excited the crowd, forcing Ma from the microphone and off of the stage, as Ma declared “I haven’t finished yet.” A representative from Ma’s office called the situation “Very regrettable,” reports LTN.

Following the awkward start, Han went on to offer a clear message for his campaign moving forward in an effort to rally support with centrist voters and those in the light blue camp who have become disenchanted the Kaohsiung Mayor after a string of recent gaffes and a perceived lack of “diplomatic decorum.” The KMT nominee has adopted four core priorities for Taiwan’s future.

Han Kuo-yu’s campaign platform.

1. To defend the Republic of China.
2. To love Chinese culture.
3. To uphold freedom and Democracy.
4. To never forget about the people who struggle.

Han implored the country to support his campaign platform and promised the people that if elected, his government would “truly serve the people,” reports CNA.

Crowd at Han's rally in New Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA photo)

In a new development for the KMT candidate, Han has taken time to educate himself on the situation in Hong Kong and on Sunday, finally weighed in on the ongoing protests and social unrest taking place there. Han expressed his support for the protesters, declaring that the people of Hong Kong are suffering in pursuit of Democracy and freedom.

However, he quickly moved on to criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for allegedly using the crisis in Hong Kong to influence public opinion in Taiwan, condemning the administration for using the struggle of the Hong Kong people for political gain. He also echoed previous warnings to his supporters that if the DPP wins another presidential term that “the Republic of China may perish.”

Like similar mass gatherings of “Han fans” the event left a significant amount of garbage for city workers to clean up on the morning of Monday (Sept. 9). The green turf of the park also suffered significant damage from vehicles and the narrow space between food stalls which caused noticeable damage from excess foot traffic.

On Monday, New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), an influential KMT party member who was noticeably absent from the rally Sunday night, expressed frustration with the uncleanliness shown by the crowd of Han fans and the damage done to the landscape of Xingfu Shuiyang Park. If the grounds cannot be easily restored, said Mayor Hou, then New Taipei City may seek compensation for damages from Han’s campaign, reports UDN.