Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential nominee, raises his hands at the founding of a campaign support group in Taipei on Tuesday. Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
RULES ARE RULES: Kaohsiung has removed the ‘Lennon wall’ at Sun Yat-sen University’s Sizihwan Tunnel, while a Chinese man has been deported for defacing one in Taipei
By Chen Yun and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Taiwan would become “like North Korea” if it continues to be locked out of international organizations, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜） said on Tuesday at a meeting with presidential campaign supporters in Taipei.
As part of his presidential campaign, Han has established industry-specific campaign support groups to advise him.
He met with a support group comprised of businesses operating in China and other countries.
At the meeting, he spoke of being “moved” by Taiwanese businesses’ establishment of factories in developing countries.
He also expressed regret over Taiwan’s inability to join a customs union of ASEAN due to pressure from China.
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih （吳敦義）, former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu （洪秀柱） and former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung （吳伯雄） were at the meeting to lend Han support.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou （馬英九） was notably absent, saying he had “other matters to attend to.”
“Taiwan is one step away from becoming like North Korea: completely locked out of things,” Han said, while discussing the ASEAN customs union.
“We need to break free from this situation. If there is no threat to national security, we need to open the doors wide open,” Han said.
In the first three years of President Tsai Ing-wen’s （蔡英文） administration, the Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） had “hurt many Taiwanese and angered many pan-green supporters,” he said, adding: “Why do you not do a good job, make Taiwan safe and let the people become wealthy?”
Meanwhile, the Kaohsiung City Government has removed a “Lennon wall” established at Sun Yat-sen University’s Sizihwan Tunnel in response to the destruction of a smaller Lennon wall at the school by a Chinese tourist.
The original Lennon wall, which was covered in sticky notes and pro-democracy posters in support of Hong Kong protesters, was vandalized by a Chinese couple on Aug. 27.
“We respect diversity, but please properly protect heritage sites,” the Kaohsiung Bureau of Cultural Affairs said.
The tunnel, which was an air defense installation, was classified by the city as a heritage site in 2004.
The bureau said they received a complaint on Friday last week that people had been doodling and spraying paint on the walls of the tunnel, which in contravention of regulations protecting heritage sites.
A Chinese man, identified as Li Shaodong （李紹東）, was deported late on Tuesday for engaging in “criminal activities” after he was caught tearing down posters from a Lennon wall on the National Taiwan University campus in Taipei on Monday, the National Immigration Agency said.
“Our government will not tolerate any illegal behavior that damages democracy and freedom with vicious intentions,” the agency said in a statement.
Li has been barred from entering Taiwan for five years.
Additional reporting by AFP