Kissing babies is not enough for your average Taiwanese politician hungry for power. Relatives are known to enter the fray as the campaign heats up, kneeling and crying with candidates at rallies to beg for those final votes. Which might all appear a little unseemly. But with vote-buying outlawed and the economic downturn wiping out donations for posters and flyers, having a sobbing mother or aunt on her knees on stage is not illegal - and may only cost the price of a bus fare. With just hours to go until the final vote, weepers and wailers were out in force yesterday as families of candidates went down on bended knee to beg for votes at campaign rallies. The practice of kneeling to appeal for more last-minute votes has become a phenomenon of Taiwanese elections. When days before elections are numbered, many candidates considered on the verge of failure have turned to the 'card of sadness' - adopting the now-customary begging posture at rallies. They hope this tear-jerking and heart-wrenching spectacle will impress the voters so much that they will change their mind at the last moment. 'This is a very special phenomenon which I think only happens in the Chinese community,' said Dr Liao Da-chi, of the National Sun Yat Sen University, who studies election culture in Taiwan. 'The Chinese community has people placed at different levels. 'Unlike Western culture, equality has never been part of Chinese culture.' Ordinary Chinese always had to kneel in front of rulers but democracy reversed that tradition, he said. On Thursday, at least four candidates or their spouses knelt at rallies in a bid for support. Dozens were due to follow suit last night. The tradition of kneeling to canvass support dates to 1997 when Lu Hsiu-yi, a respected legislator who was dying of cancer, knelt at a campaign gathering to ask voters to support Su Cheng-chang, a candidate running for Taipei county chief for the then opposition Democratic Progressive Party. Mr Su won the election and many have attributed his success to the touching appeal of the dying man who exhausted his last efforts to help him.