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Taiwan's KMT struggles to give red envelopes to party workers

Cash-strapped party struggles to attract voters and pay party workers year-end bonus

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Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu.

Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said on Saturday (Jan. 27) that the party will hand out a red envelope with NT$8,000 to reward party members for their hard work over the past year.

The reward is likely smaller than what most employees may receive as a yearend bonus around the time of the lunar new year holiday. A survey conducted in December 2023 found that 88% of employers planned to hand out performance bonuses ranging from 0.5% of a monthly wage up to 1.5% or more.

Chu said the red envelope, or hongbao (紅包), will be increased to NT$8,000 this year, up NT$2,000 from previous years. Approximately 700 party workers nationwide will receive the reward.

The more than century-old party failed to win the presidency in January's election, dashing its hope to take back the party assets worth over NT$3 billion (US$116 million) in the near future. The assets were deemed “ill gotten” and frozen by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party as part of its transitional justice drive.

The party is facing a "crisis of relevance," according to Bloomberg. According to the report the party is struggling to find ways to attract voters who are distancing themselves from China, while trying to assure conservative unification leaning elders or voters wanting cross-strait peace.