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Taiwan premier calls legislator ‘shameless’ after ‘first to surrender’ accusation

Routine interpellation at Legislative Yuan turns into altercation between Premier Su Tseng-chang, Legislator Cheng Li-wun

Legislator Cheng Li-wun storms up to Premier Su Tseng-chang after he calls her "shameless."

Legislator Cheng Li-wun storms up to Premier Su Tseng-chang after he calls her "shameless." (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After Legislator Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) taunted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that he would be “the first to surrender” to China during a Legislative Yuan interpellation, a furious Su called her “shameless,” sparking a row between Su and the Kuomintang (KMT).

Cheng had been questioning Premier Su on whether Taiwan should develop nuclear submarines, saying, “Premier, there is no way to fight others with broomsticks.” Su responded by saying, “People like you don’t even dare speak up or fight, surrender would be best, wouldn’t it?”

“I’m afraid the first one to surrender would be you!” answered Cheng, adding, “and the second would be Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)!”

Taiwan premier calls legislator ‘shameless’ after ‘first to surrender’ accusation
Legislator Cheng Li-wen says Premier Su would be "the first one to surrender." (CNA photo)

At this, Premier Su said, “I wouldn’t be as shameless as you.”

The response infuriated Cheng, who called for the interpellation to pause and stormed up to Su to demand he explain what he meant. “Is he allowed to humiliate a legislator like this?” she asked repeatedly.

She demanded that Su apologize, saying he was angry because he felt ashamed, while Su said he felt ashamed he had endorsed her during a past election.

Following the dispute, the KMT condemned Su for calling Cheng “shameless” and threatened to sue him for defamation. In a press release, the KMT said Premier Su severely misspoke, did not live up to his role, and was undignified, and the party demanded Su immediately apologize to Cheng.

The KMT also expressed support for Cheng, saying she has made dedicated efforts in supervising the government.

Taiwan premier calls legislator ‘shameless’ after ‘first to surrender’ accusation
Premier Su addresses the issue of his dispute with Legislator Cheng Li-wun. (CNA photo)

However, Su accused Cheng of making up lies about the president being the first to surrender, which is a serious matter as it affects the faith of citizens. He said the president, as the leader of Taiwan and its military forces, protects the country’s sovereignty and security, yet someone has spread rumors during interpellation.

“As the premier, I must fight traitors with a fury in that moment, rightfully correct lies, and take it upon myself to rectify errors,” Su told reporters.

During a press conference held on Wednesday (Oct. 13), KMT Legislator Fai Hrong-tai (費鴻泰) claimed that Premier Su talked nonsense and hurled “misogynist insults” and “profanity” and demanded Su apologize.

Taiwan premier calls legislator ‘shameless’ after ‘first to surrender’ accusation
KMT legislators Cheng Li-wun and Fai Hrong-tai hold a press conference to demand Su's apology. (CNA photo)

The KMT members in attendance accused Su of “setting a bad example for schoolchildren,” who, according to them, might mimic him and call teachers “shameless” when they are unable to answer questions at school.

“Let me tell Premier Su right here,” Fai said, “If you don’t apologize, we will verbally abuse you every time we see you. Whatever you say to other people, we will return the same words… and it will be loud.”

Fai told reporters that they plan to sue on Friday (Oct. 15).

President Tsai attended the routine meeting of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) central committee on Wednesday, and she addressed the issue during her speech.

“I want to remind everyone that democracy welcomes discussion and brainstorming between people with different ideas, but definitely not labels and twisting facts… Emotional statements not only prevent focus on meaningful discussion but are also unfair for those involved,” said Tsai.

She urged everyone to stop looking for enemies among Taiwan’s own people, as it is not helpful to the development of the country. Instead, everyone should find a common denominator and unite to better take on future challenges, she added.

Taiwan premier calls legislator ‘shameless’ after ‘first to surrender’ accusation
President Tsai Ying-wen speaking at the DPP central committee routine meeting. (CNA photo)