Editorial Notes

Will Foxconn's Terry Gou run against Tsai in the 2020 election? The China Post

Taiwanese tech mogul Terry Gou (left) and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwanese tech mogul Terry Gou (left) and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.PHOTOS: REUTERS

In its editorial on May 1, the paper reflects on suggestions that Taiwanese tech mogul Terry Gou could be fielded against Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in the 2020 election.

TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou was seen exiting the White House on Thursday after a reported meeting with United States President Donald Trump.

Japan's Nikkei Asian Review also reported that the billionaire Taiwanese tech mogul had probably met Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in late February. He visited the White House again a day later on Friday.

The three visits have set political pundits' tongues wagging in Taipei about the possibility of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) persuading Gou to be its standard bearer in 2020 to help it win back the Presidential Office.

Gou, who heads key Apple component supplier Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, has denied having any such ambitions.

Regardless, former Vice-President Wu Den-yih, the front-runner in the KMT chairmanship elections scheduled for May 20, has said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of drafting Gou to face incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen in the 2020 race.

Of course, Wu wishes to run against Tsai himself if he wins the chairmanship next month, but isn't sure he can beat her. As a matter of fact, there are no KMT chairmanship candidates who believe they could outpoll Tsai, despite her popularity falling since her inauguration on May 20 last year.

The reason is that they are following Donald Reagan, who gave up his Eleventh Commandment in order just to get elected the 66th president of the United States. Reagan's one extra commandment was: Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans. Reagan obeyed that commandment to win California's governorship but went back on it to attack incumbent President Jerry Ford and was nominated to run for president for the Grand Old Party.

The six candidates for the KMT leadership are attacking each other in an all-out effort to win, jeopardising the unity of purpose needed to oust Tsai.

That's why the veteran politician Wu floated the idea of drafting Gou for the 2020 election.

But is Gou electable?

He looks almost invincible, just as China Chemical and Pharmaceutical Co. head Wang Ming-ning did in the 1954 Taipei mayoral election. President Chiang Kai-shek, in his capacity as KMT director-general, nominated Wang to run against Henry Kao, chief secretary of the Taipei Chamber of Commerce. At that time, the KMT nomination meant the nominee was elected.

So, Wang didn't campaign for the mayorship but did everything he could to help his wife get elected to the Taiwan Provincial Assembly. She was handily elected. He lost and the almost unknown Kao without party affiliation was elected. What went wrong?

Chiang made a fatal mistake.

Wang, a Taiwanese-born retired lieutenant-general in the Army, was a police commissioner of the Taiwan Provincial Government almost immediately after the 228 Incident (an anti-government protest on Feb 28, 1947 that was dealt with violently by the then government). Kao did little campaigning.

All he had to do to win was to spread the news of Wang being Taiwan's chief of police while thousands of innocent Taiwanese were slaughtered in the incident, which sired the feud between island-born locals and Chinese mainlanders and begot the Taiwan independence movement.

Wang, born in Taiwan, went to Chiang's Wanpoa Military Academy in Canton and served in the KMT army. He was considered a Chinese mainlander.

Although in a different form now, the feud continues. And, in such an atmosphere of creeping anti-China sentiment, be it right or wrong, the chances that mainlander Gou could win the 2020 race are slim at best.

The China Post is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 news media entities.