Taiwan Life in Brief – October 2019

Terry Guo Leaves KMT, Will Not Run in 2020

Former Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou on September 12 resigned from his honorary position in the Kuomintang (KMT), citing the party’s “culture of reactionary politics and backroom horse-trading” as influencing his decision. His departure was criticized by many in the KMT, who argued that he broke the promises he made to the party when he took his membership oath.

Despite widespread speculation that he would run for president as an independent candidate following his resignation from the KMT, Gou on September 17 announced that he would not enter the presidential race, but would continue to be involved in political affairs.

Ex-VP Annette Lu Enters the Race

The night before Gou’s announcement, former Vice President Annette Lu announced that she will run for president in 2020. She accepted the support of the Formosa Alliance, a pro-independence political coalition founded by Formosa Television Chairman Kuo Pei-hung in 2018. However, as she is not officially a member of that party, she and her running mate, Peng Pai-hsien, were required to register as independents. Lu, who served as vice president during the Chen Shui-bian administration from 2000 to 2008, became well-known in Taiwan for her pro-democracy activism against the country’s former authoritarian regime.

Tsai Defends Dissertation Against Skeptics

The legitimacy of President Tsai’s doctoral dissertation from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has been called into question by several public personalities in the past month. Among the skeptics are political talk show host Dennis Peng, National Taiwan University law professor emeritus Ho De-fen, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte Belk College of Business professor Hwan C. Lin. All three have made various unsubstantiated claims about Tsai’s educational background, particularly with regard to her completion and submission of the dissertation and the veracity of her doctoral diploma.

In response, both the Presidential Office and the LSE have released documents proving that her diploma and dissertation are authentic and that the completed dissertation was submitted in 1984 when Tsai graduated. Tsai will also make her original dissertation publicly available at the National Central Library. The Presidential Office on September 4 filed a complaint against Ho and Lin at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

New Developments in Corruption Cases

Two corruption cases involving Taiwanese politicians moved ahead in September. New Taipei City Councilor Kao Min-hui of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was detained on September 8 in connection with a judicial probe into the alleged theft of government funds intended for office assistant salaries. Kao, who is currently serving her sixth term as city councilor, has denied accusations that she forged documents and used various bank accounts to skim the funds for personal gain.

On the same day, the former mayor of Taitung County’s Dawu Township, Chao Hung-han, was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison after being convicted of receiving NT$2 million in kickbacks from contractors during his time in office. His activity was found to have violated the Anti-Corruption Act, and his conviction concluded an investigation that was launched in August 2017.

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