Founder and chairman of tech giant Foxconn (鴻海) Kuo T’ai-ming (郭台銘) announced on April 17 that he will run for president in Taiwan’s 2020 elections, citing a dream in which Taiwan’s popular sea goddess Mazu urged him to do more for the Taiwanese people.
In the morning of April 17 Kuo visited the Daoist Ts’u-hui Temple in Taipei’s Pan-ch’iao district to pray to the sea goddess Mazu and the goddess of mercy Guanyin.
After the prayer he announced his decision to seek the nomination for presidential candidate in the primaries of the Guomindang.
“Mazu appeared to me in a dream and urged me to do more for the Taiwanese people,” Yahoo News quoted Kuo as saying. “I will certainly respect her wishes.”
In a Facebook post Kuo said that he has been a member of the Guomindang for 50 years. He claimed that the focus of his campaign was on “peace, stability, the economy and the future” (和平, 安定, 經濟, 未來).
Kuo founded Hon Hai / Foxconn Technology Group in 1974. The company, which is best known as an Apple contractor, is closely linked to China, where it employs around 1.3 million people, 350,000 of whom work in a factory dubbed “iPhone City” in Zhengzhou Industrial Park.
In 2017 Foxconn received US$4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build a “Gen 10.5” factory in Wisconsin, a plan highly publicized by Republican Governor Scott Walker and President Donald Trump for bringing back jobs to the United States.
On July 26, 2017, Kuo took part in a Jobs Announcement event with Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan in the East Room of the White House. The “Gen 10.5” project was later abandoned in favour of a smaller “Gen 6” factory.
Foxconn’s stake in China is important not only from an economic, but also from a political standpoint.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims that Taiwan is part of China and it has not renounced the use of force to bring about what it describes as “reunification.”
The Guomindang endorses the position that Taiwan and China are one country. During the tenure of President Ma Ying-jeou (2008-2016), the Guomindang purusued a policy of rapprochement with the CCP that proved to be highly unpopular and led to the so-called Sunflower Movement.
In 2016 the Guomindang suffered a humiliating defeat in the presidential elections, garnering a mere 26.9% of vote, while the anti-Beijing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 44.1% of the vote.
Kuo’s emphasis on “peace”, a term that is often used as a synonym for co-operation between Taiwan and the Chinese Communist regime, shows that as president he would continue to seek closer ties with Beijing. Like many business people both in Taiwan and across the globe, Kuo has a vested interest in appeasing the CCP for the sake of investment opportunities.
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