Taipei mayoral candidate slammed for public deaf toilet policy ad


Taipei, Sep 4 (CNA) A campaign video promoting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)’s plan to upgrade the city’s public restrooms sparked controversy this weekend -end after being slammed by critics for shedding light on sexual harassment.

The video, which was posted on Saturday, begins with a photo of internet celebrity Sichamao (四叉貓) using a public restroom and discovering that there is no toilet paper.

Sichamao then asks the person in the next stall if they have any toilet paper, at which Chen peeks over the stall, flashes a V sign, and lowers an electronic bidet toilet seat on a string.

The video then heads into more conventional territory for a campaign ad, as Chen explains his plan to replace Taipei’s 7,200 public toilets with electronic bidet toilets.

Although it was replaced soon after release with a version in which Chen’s peeping head is removed, the video nonetheless drew a torrent of criticism from Chen’s political opponents.

Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), candidate for mayor of Taipei from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, called on Chen to apologize for the video, which he said violated the “basic concept” of the opposition to sexual harassment and voyeurism.

Meanwhile, KMT candidate for Chiayi County magistrate Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said the announcement was particularly shocking given that Chen previously headed the Ministry of Health and Welfare. to be (MOHW), which plays a leading role in efforts to prevent sexual harassment.

Citing figures from MOHW, Wang noted that 1,284 verified cases of sexual harassment were recorded in 2021, while voyeurism cases rose from 62 the previous year to 161.

“Many incidents of sexual harassment are driven by the (mistaken) assumption that ‘it’s no big deal.’ This ad does the same thing and sets a terrible example for children,” she said.

Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), who is running for mayor of Taipei as an independent after stepping down as deputy mayor late last month, instead took aim at the content of Chen’s politics, which she called “(too) luxurious and impractical”.

In response to the uproar, Chen apologized for the Sunday morning ad, saying the video was edited and in no way intended to reference sexual harassment.

Regarding the policy itself, however, he argued that upgrading public restrooms is an essential part of ensuring the people of Taipei’s right to bodily hygiene and comfort.

“The message we send to people in the city is that we pay attention to detail” and understand “the need to take note of the details of everyday life,” he said.

DPP lawmaker Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄), who backs Chen, similarly argued for the policy, albeit in more direct terms.

“We have bidet seats for the butts of councilors and civil servants, so why not have that right for city dwellers?” He asked.

(By Kao Hua-chien, Chiang Yi-ching, Liu Shih-yi and Matthew Mazzetta)

End Article/AW

> Chinese version


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