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DPP lawmaker ends reelection bid due to affair with Chinese woman

10/25/2023 12:36 PM
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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chao Tian-lin (趙天麟) leaves a press conference in Kaohsiung on Tuesday. CNA photo Oct. 24, 2023
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chao Tian-lin (趙天麟) leaves a press conference in Kaohsiung on Tuesday. CNA photo Oct. 24, 2023

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Three-term ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chao Tian-lin (趙天麟) has decided to drop his reelection bid after admitting to having an extramarital affair with a Chinese national "years ago," he announced Tuesday night.

"After thinking about it for a day, I decided to drop out of the legislative election campaign. I again apologize for the mistake I made in my personal life to my family and my supporters," he said in a Facebook post.

He added that he will continue to do his job as he has been doing for the last 12 years as a lawmaker to safeguard Taiwan and Kaohsiung before his term expires at the end of January 2024.

The revelations emerged Monday night when the Chinese-language Mirror Magazine alleged in a story posted online that Chao and a Chinese woman were involved in an affair, and the story included intimate photographs it said were taken by Chao and the woman.

Soon after, more photographs related to the affair began to spread on social media.

At a brief two-minute press conference at his Kaohsiung office on Tuesday morning, Chao admitted to having an affair with the said woman and said he was sorry for causing his wife and children pain.

He also insisted that his wife of 16 years, with whom he has three sons, knew about the affair that was reported and had forgiven him.

Chao then left without taking any questions or providing any more details.

The lawmaker's apology did not sit well with both his own party and opposition lawmakers.

Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), speaking as DPP chairman, urged Chao to be more forthcoming.

"He has the responsibility to give a clear explanation [over the incident] to his family and all of society," Lai said.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) of the DPP suggested that Chao's affair could hurt the DPP's prospects in the January 2024 legislative elections in the city, and he urged his party to "carefully assess" whether to adjust its legislative candidate lineup.

The main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), meanwhile, called on Chao to give up his bid for a fourth term, though not so much because of the affair but because it was with a woman from China, which the DPP treats as a hostile state.

Chao has been a two-time convener of the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, the KMT said in a statement, and it urged prosecutors to investigate if Chao leaked any confidential information to the Chinese side via the relationship.

Chao then made his brief statement Tuesday morning confirming the affair to put the situation behind him, but the backlash remained strong and he ended up dropping out of the legislative race on Tuesday night.

In response, DPP spokesman Cho Kuan-ting (卓冠廷) said the party respected Chao's decision and will let its lawmaker nomination committee decide Chao's replacement.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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