Taipei Mayor Rides Subway and Moped to Work, Netizen Reactions


From Sina Weibo:

@头条新闻: Taipei mayor stood alone at the door riding the subway – Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-Je had just assumed office for a week and two nights ago, he was discovered by netizens riding the subway with no entourage. Ko’s wife expressed that they both were planning to go to Peitou Hot Springs, and there was a seat so Ko told her to sit down with the people. A Taiwanese netizen joked: Mayor, you shouldn’t use this [transportation] method and appear at this type of place.

Comments on Sina Weibo:


Our mayors are not elected by us…even if we ate at the same table I wouldn’t recognize him….only reporters can chance upon them.


The thousand-evils of democracy pressured this brother to such a degree! This cannot be tolerated! What happened to his personal car and female secretary?


On the Mainland he would be scolded for putting on a show right?


On the Mainland, we only know what our mayor look like when he is about to be fired.


There is a big difference between socialist mayors and capitalist mayors…


A Taipei mayor reduced to being so miserly! Truly is the laughing stock our Celestial Kingdom’s officials!


News should be contrasted, look at our dynasty’s officials who showed up at the scene of the Heilongjiang fire, all of them made headlines.


Because our mayors are not elected by the common people, they don’t have to come out to solicit votes and give speeches…so they are hard to recognize by the public, even if he stood in front of me I wouldn’t recognize him.


A village head from Shenzhen probably never even taken the subway. Have money, stubborn like that.


From Sina Weibo:

@山东杨洪: Taipei mayor wearing a raincoat, riding a moped to inspect Chongyang Bridge, really have to endure hardship. Can’t even compare to our village head, what is the point of becoming a mayor? And had to spend all that effort during the election! Really stupid!

Comments on Sina Weibo:

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What a coincidence it was again photographed by a reporter! Would a normal person care about who is this person sitting behind a moped and take a photo in this type of weather and place? Spending all the time during the day just to put on a show, how much time is there left to conduct politics?


A committee chair in a village across the strait have better benefits.


They are elected by the people, our are appointed by the government, how can they be the same? The only thing our mayors know is to drink tea, read newspapers, and hold pointless meetings.


If the Celestial Kingdom also had elections they too would put on all sorts of shows.


Taiwanese politics is just a show.


Even our village heads drive Audis.


Let time, political achievements and public support validate this.

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Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai

  • Aaron Wytze

    So proud of Taipei for electing 柯P into office. His election campaign, and first two weeks in office have been some of the most memorable in Taiwans democratic history. Hope he’s able to make good on his promises of open government and transparency over the next 4 years. 柯P萬歲!

    • mr.wiener

      So true. Those morons talking smack in the comments section have no idea as to that this guy is not a politician,at least of the traditional mold anyway. He is a doctor the KMT tried to lean on when they didn’t like his opinion on something.
      He got pissed off and did something about it. Taiwan needs leaders like this and I dare say ,so does China.

      • Aaron Wytze

        Yeah. That bridge is scary. The bridges between New Taipei City and Taipei City are super dangerous and in desperate need of upkeep. (especially with more YouBikers crossing the city borders from Taipei to New Taipei). Hope 柯P can fix things up.

      • Zappa Frank

        not only Taiwan and China desperately need leaders like him

    • Brido227

      I’d have more faith in that if he’d come out in the open and stood for the DPP, instead of ‘singing gray, dancing Green’. I don’t see why stealth politics are any more palatable here than on the mainland.

  • Dr Sun

    It just shows how Capitalism and democracy has failed, the poor Mayor on a E-bike and on the metro, like a common worker. This would never happen on the mainland our Mayors ride in Chauffeur driven Mercs and BMW’s and that’s just a village Major.

    • Aaron Wytze

      You’re being satirical, correct?

      • James

        No, he is dead serious, as am I.

        • Aaron Wytze

          Eh… you do realize how awesome it is to live in Taiwan, right?

        • lonetrey / Dan

          You’re being sarcastic, correct?

      • Dr Sun


    • don mario

      thats a scooter.

      • Dr Sun

        don’t know, I cant see a exhaust pipe so said e-bike, but does it matter that much.

        • don mario

          well if it was an e-bike it would be a good look for him, like he was interested in cleaning up taipei’s act. riding a scooter in an act of humbleness doesn’t do a lot in my opinion as the scooter problem in taiwan is massive and guys like him should be trying to solve it not contribute. e-bikes are not very common in taiwan.

          yea its not a huge deal but the message would be different depending on what type of bike he was riding because the roads just a giant problem in taiwan.

          • plorf

            the scooter problem is massive? what’s the problem with scooters, fastest way to get around, don’t take up space, massively easier to get from A to B in Taipei than Beijing.

          • don mario

            I’ll just assume you are trolling and leave you be.

  • don mario

    this guy is good. he has already banned mainlanders from protesting at taipei 101.

    yea, there is a group of mainlanders who were allowed to protest at taipei 101.. they were a bunch of louts. insulting people and even throwing shoes and stuff. can you imagine a group of taiwanese protesting the prc in mainland china? they would be obliterated. it was a ridiculous situation, foreigners are not even allowed to protest in taiwan. the fact that the guy shut down this nonsense so quick makes him already pretty impressive in my eyes.

    riding the subway is nothing special imo as every taiwanese is proud of the mrt like its gods gift to mankind anyway. riding a scooter is kind of lame, would prefer to see him ride on a e-bike and promote some less archaic polluting shit box mode of transport.

    • Aaron Wytze

      He didn’t ban them from protesting. That would be undemocratic. The problem was that some pro-unification protesters were beating up members of the Falun Gong (who also protest in front of Taipei 101). He’s posted more policemen in front of 101 (walked by yesterday and saw a lot more police circulating with the crowd). He also said he would fire the police warden if the beatings of Falun Gong members continue.

      • don mario

        Its not undemocratic.. its against the taiwanese laws that prohibit foriegners from protesting.. There are rumours that they were allowed their in the past due to the groups connections with ma’s family.

        • Aaron Wytze

          There is a minority of Taiwanese that support unification, and who do protest in front of Taipei 101, from my understanding, they are not PRC passport holders, but ROC passport holders. If their is a law that forbids foreigners from protesting, then that law is undemocratic. The right to protest is a universal human right and should not be dependent on one’s nationality.

          • don mario

            Well there is that law.. see any laowais amongst the student protesters from a while back? There were some checking it out but none protesting. You could be deported for it. As far as i knew they were mainlanders outside 101.

          • Aaron Wytze

            There certainly was 阿兜啊 protesting. I was one of the protesters. Never arrested, imagine that. Also, if there is such law that bars foreigners from protesting, show me the proof. I’ll settle for a link from a quick google search.

          • don mario

            Well you certainly have a lot of trust in kmt ‘democracy’ its on this page as far as i know

          • Aaron Wytze

            This is just a link to the law and regulations database of the ROC. Did you plan on looking for the specific law you’re referring to? Or make me look for it myself?

          • don mario

            Its in there somewhere i guess. I just found it off google. I already knew about this for a long time so you will have to search it for yourself. Basically it comes down to doing things not specified in your arc/ visa / whatever. Its a grey area sure, but if you can get deported for publicly protesting against the government then i would rather not and it applys for all forigners.

          • Aaron Wytze

            Conjecture. Hearsay. In god we trust, all others bring data.

          • ClausRasmussen


            (one of the top links on Google if you search “foreigners protest Taiwan”)

          • Aaron Wytze

            Eh! That wasn’t so hard to find! But yeah. It’s a ridiculous law. And it is also unjust to Indonesians, Vietnamese, Filipina/o’s who may want to protest for unfair working conditions.

          • don mario

            Non quite. There are plenty of grey areas in taiwanese laws. Its up to you to be responsible. Most forigners dont get a drivers liscense either and just ride scooters regardless..Even tho its rare to get in trouble for that it Doesnt mean its right or that its legal though.

          • vincent_t

            what were you protesting for?

          • Aaron Wytze


          • vincent_t

            I am sure your action must be welcomed by the protesters, but I doubt as a foreigner you should take part in such protest, where the topic itself (服貿) is rather complicated. I’d understand if the protest was standing for common value like humanity, freedom or so on, the nationality of the participant becomes irrelevant. But 服貿? Seriously for me it is as weird as seeing an English join the protest against Obamacare. Just my 2 cent

          • Aaron Wytze

            Who says I don’t hold an ROC passport?

          • vincent_t

            You didn’t. I jumped into that assumption because the topic was about foreigners protesting, and when Don Mario said “see any laowais amongst the student protesters from a while back? There were some checking it out but none protesting”, you answered him that you were 1 of the protester. That quite implicitly carry the meaning that you are a foreigner, thus my reply above. Cheers.

          • Aaron Wytze

            你想怎樣?我是台灣新住民啊!hehe, yeah you’re right, I’m not an ROC passport holder. But there is economic reasons for any foreigner to participate in the protests. I could be married to a Taiwanese citizen, or have children that hold Taiwanese citizenship. I could be protesting to protect their economic interests.

          • vincent_t

            Yeah, that makes sense. And I am sure those taiwanese who supported 服貿 were damn pissed that you as a foreigner involved.
            Anyway, the way you talk kind of reminds me a foreigner in Taiwan, 夏克力. In a good way, if you know him you would know what I mean ;)

          • Aaron Wytze

            As a fellow Canadian, I am honored that you have talked about me and 夏克立 in the same sentence.

          • ClausRasmussen

            >> The right to protest is a universal human right

            First, you can’t equale human rights and democracy, one is a bill of rights the other a type of government. The fundamental right in a democracy is the right to vote, but denying foreigners that doesn’t make it undemocratic

            Second, while the right to protest is a universal human right, it is provided to you by country of origin not the host country. There are other human rights, like food, housing, or to be with your family that are not guaranteed by your host country (or its tax payers) without being a violation of your human rights

            Another thing is that democratic countries often allow foreigners to protest because it is harmless or because they simply didn’t think about the possibility

          • Aaron Wytze

            Thanks for the tip Claus-y!

  • Munkee

    “The only thing our mayors know is to drink tea, read newspapers, and hold pointless meetings. ”
    That is exactly the picture I have in my head of a communist official. Actually, I would add the binge drinking during daily banquets followed by KTV sessions in good company.

  • Dolph Grunt

    “On the Mainland, we only know what our mayor look like when he is about to be fired.”

    Funny and sad… and oh so true.

  • Chosun1Peninsula1

    He looks very sad.