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July 24, 2017

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Kuomintang tries counterattack on 'underground' radio stations

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The opposition Kuomintang, convinced that it lost the last presidential election in 2004 because of a rumor spread by underground radio stations, is launching a counterattack.

Wu Dun-yih, secretary-general of the Kuomintang, confirmed yesterday his party is asking "licensed" radio stations to air its propaganda.

"We're not going to get underground networks to air our programs," Wu said. "For it's illegal," he added.

Lien Chan, Kuomintang standard bearer, lost by a paper-thin margin of 0.2 percent on March 20, 2004 after underground stations in central and southern Taiwan characterized the two shots fired against President Chen Shui-bian on the eve of the election was an assassination attempt orchestrated by China.

What the Kuomintang is doing is buying on-air time from the licensed stations that have agreed to broadcast the programs the opposition party has produced.

At least one station in Kaohsiung, Cheng Kung (Success), has already signed up for the Kuomintang propaganda project purported to silence its underground counterparts.

Two more are trying to join, Wu said. "In the end," he added, "we'll be able to form a region-wide network for our all-out counterattack."

But some of what are called underground radio stations are actually licensed ones, though almost all of them are pro-Democratic Progressive Party networks.

In addition, nobody knows for sure whether people in the central and southern parts of the island, the power base of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, will listen to the Kuomintang propaganda.

They tend not to tune in to any such programs.

Quite a number of Kuomintang lawmakers, who are running for the legislative elections in next January, simply don't like the idea of what is dubbed Operation Counterattack.

"It's not going to help," said Huang Chao-hsun, a Kuomintang heavyweight elected from Kaohsiung. "Our problem," she added, "isn't whether our stuff is aired. It's the dithering the party has in reacting to the attacks from our rivals."

Ma Ying-jeou, Kuomintang candidate for president, said he doesn't know exactly what his party is doing. "But," he said, "I won't appear and talk on any unlicensed station program."

"Doing something is better than doing nothing," said Wang Jin-pyng, president of the Legislative Yuan and a former Kuomintang vice chairman, of the air-wave counteroffensive.

But Shieh Jhy-wei, director-general of the Government Information Office, threatened to take action against the Kuomintang if it is found to have financed the broadcast with "ill-gotten assets."

"They can spend their money in whatever way they like, so long as it doesn't break the law, but they shouldn't put their fingers on the property they have stolen from the people," Shieh warned.

All such assets belong to the public, Shieh added. "They have to be returned to the national treasury."

Should any part of the assets be diverted to fund the programs, Shieh said, the Kuomintang would be "duly punished."

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