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  • Writer's pictureWei Azim Hung

Report: Role of Scandals in Taiwan's Midterm Elections 2022

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Key Recap:
  • Questions of Hou You-Yi's future political ambitions

  • TPP accused of appropriating legislative assistants for the party

  • More than 240 candidates pledge to ‘never surrender’ to China

  • Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) criticized over Hsinchu Baseball Stadium

  • Chiang Wan-an's (蔣萬安) ‘Silicon Valley’ experience raises doubts

  • Miaoli and Nantou elections rekindles debate on ‘Black Gold’ politics

  • Taoyuan controversy: Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) and Eric Chu (朱立倫) fallout, Chang San-cheng runs for KMT; Thesis scandal, Lin Chih-Chien withdraws, replaced by Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬); former DPP legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) expelled over mayoral run.

  • Kao Hung-an (高虹安) and her boyfriend, employed as office staff, suspects in payroll deduction fraud and accused of appropriating wages from legislative assistants

  • Thesis gate: Lin Chih-chien, Chang San-cheng (張善政), Kao Hung-an (高虹安), and Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如)

  • KMT accuses Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of constitutional violation over stripping away voting rights of Covid patients

  • Former NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) supports independent candidate Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊).

  • Pan-blue coalition exploits Medigen (高端) controversy, accuses Ministry of Health and Welfare of data manipulation.

  • Yilan County Commissioner Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) is facing charges of illegal profiteering and destroying evidence.

Controversies and Slander

Unlike previous elections, Taiwan's 2022 local elections have been mired in controversies and slander. As opposed to policy debates, most discussions surrounded, at best, less substantial issues, such as whether to sign the 'never surrender' pledge or, at worst, character assassination of individual candidates. For instance, Robert Tsao (曹興誠), founder of United Microelectronics Corporation, raised doubts over KMT's Taipei Mayoral Candidate Chiang Wan-an's (蔣萬安) 'Silicon Valley' experiences and dismissed TPP's Hsinchu Mayoral Candidate Kao Hung-an (高虹安) credential for weeping in public.


Thesis Gate

Multiple candidates were under intense public scrutiny, especially starting with allegations that Lin Chih-chien plagiarized his master's thesis. Most notably, Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) had his diploma revoked from National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of National Development and Chung Hua University's College of Management. Subsequently, Lin withdrew from the race and was replaced by DPP legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬). TPP legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) was another high-profile figure who had her diploma revoked by Tamkang University due to plagiarism. She later resigned from her legislative seat and was replaced by Wu Hsin-ying (吳欣盈), a scion of the Shin Kong Group founding family. Kao Hung-an also came under fire. According to the President of the Institute for Information Industry (III), Cho Cheng-hung (卓政宏), Kao's doctoral thesis had plagiarized 70 - 80% of the report she had written for the institute. Therefore, the III will be taking legal action against her. The DPP also accused Chang San-cheng (張善政) of plagiarism while he worked for Acer. However, there was no follow up.


Taoyuan Fallout

Substantial media attention is placed on the race in Taoyuan and Miaoli. To begin, Taoyuan has historically been a KMT stronghold. But Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) has governed the city for the past eight years and seeks to pass the baton down to Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬). Before KMT's official nomination, Taipei City Councilor Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) quit his position and moved to Taoyuan, hoping to secure the party's nomination. However, Eric Chu (朱立倫) wanted to nominate Chang San-cheng (張善政) instead, resulting in a lot of tensions between Lo and the party central committee. On the other hand, former DPP legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) was expelled by the DPP over Taoyuan's mayoral run.


Black Gold Politics

Miaoli is another KMT stronghold, with a complicated local environment, and as a result, has never been penetrated and governed by the DPP. The upcoming election is regarded as the DPP's best chance at flipping KMT's monopoly over the county. DPP's candidate Hsu Ting-chen (徐定禎), will be sparring against KMT's Chong Dong-jing (鍾東錦), who has been repeatedly insinuated for his association with the Miaoli triad and mafia. As such, public debates on black gold politics (黑金) have rekindled. Similarly, when Tsai campaigned for Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧) in Nantou County, she also framed the election as choosing between integrity versus black gold and local triad politics.


Kao Hung-an Snubs Accusation

Controversy over Kao Hung-an's suspected role in payroll deduction fraud and misappropriation of legislative assistants' wages has also seized public attention. The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau is currently on the case. Kao presented a record of her work conversation messages with her assistant surnamed Li and showed a video of her ex-colleague endorsing her, proving that Li is truly working for her as an assistant. DPP's Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹), said, “I think Kao Hung-an should be honest about all the controversies and questions”.

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