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New York attorney set to run in Taipei mayoral race as independent

Media friendly Tung Wen-hsun plans first mayoral campaign parade in metaverse

Attorney Tung Wen-hsun. (YouTube screenshot)

Attorney Tung Wen-hsun. (YouTube screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Media personality and New York attorney Tung Wen-hsun (童文薰) announced her Taipei mayoral bid on Friday (July 1) as an independent candidate, unveiling at the same time a plan to roll out the first campaign parade in the metaverse.

Tung called for young adults who want political reform to unite and participate in the Nov. 26 local elections. She also presented an ambitious agenda for the city:

  • Realize land justice by tearing down the landmark Hai Bawang Restaurant, which was previously used by U.S. soldiers
  • Rejuvenate Taipei Expo Park to become a special economic zone near Taipei Songshan Airport
  • Significantly expand public bilingual education to the preschool stage
  • Improve housing affordability and increase the number of social housing units
  • Promote a women-friendly workplace and increase the proportion of women in senior management roles at local government and city-owned hospitals
  • Speed up urban renewal
  • Enhance homeless management
  • Make bridge renovations

Tung also unveiled a plan to host a campaign parade in virtual reality, which is slated for Aug. 1. Pre-registration started July 1 and those taking part in the event will receive a souvenir. "Supporters do not have to worry about the weather on the day of the parade and participants can interact with other supporters in the metaverse with their own digital avatar," the campaign literature explained.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has named Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), a great-grandson of the late dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as its candidate for the seat.

The other presumed, but as yet still unannounced candidate is Taipei Vice Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊). She has made it clear she is not running on behalf of the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) though Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of the TPP said he still intends to back her. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has yet to decide its candidate.

A New York attorney

Tung became an attorney in New York in her 20s after graduating from McGeorge School of Law in the U.S. She has promoted participatory democracy and spoken out about the cruelty of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), especially its actions against Falun Gong members and harvesting organs from them.

In 2019, Tung made the headlines for expressing doubts about President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) London School of Economics and Political Science Ph.D. dissertation. She and media pundit Yang Sen-hong (楊憲宏) accused Tsai of having "dishonestly" translated her own 1983 Chinese-language text in a National Chengchi University publication into English for her LSE dissertation.

Last month, Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation Chairman Ying-lung You (游盈隆) accused the main political parties of bypassing primaries for local elections and that that is undermining democracy in Taiwan. You called for the participation of more independent candidates to run for a seat in local elections as a reminder to those in power not to let democracy backslide.