Reuters (August 15) reported that DPP's Chen Chi-mai, a former vice premier, won 70% of the votes in the by-election for Mayor of Kaohsiung on August 15, roundly defeating the pro-Beijing KMT candidate Jane Lee. Voter turnout was low. While the campaign focused on domestic issues like Kaohsiung's heavy debt load, China grabbed the domestic spotlight in the run-up, with the arrest in Hong Kong of media tycoon Jimmy Lai and Chinese military drills near Taiwan. DPP's Chen Chi-mai had cast the election as a way of showing support for Hong Kong and the value of democracy, while President Tsai Ing-wen told a rally in Kaohsiung on August 14 evening that China's military threats were Beijing's way of trying to influence the vote. Lee's campaign was not helped after she became embroiled in a plagiarism scandal a few weeks before the vote, accused of copying much of her master's thesis. She tearfully told reporters last month she was going to give up her degree.

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