Whether they are dripping blood on national flags or staging protests in rival camps, no one can accuse candidates in Taiwan's legislative election of not pulling out all the stops in their efforts to win votes. With one week to go, the 368 candidates vying for 168 regional seats in the legislature are doing all they can to raise their profiles. One of the most effective ways of gaining publicity has been to disrupt the campaign rallies of rival candidates, especially those associated with public figures such as Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. New Party candidate Chen Li-ling and her entourage on Thursday headed into a rally in Taoyuan, in northern Taiwan, where Mr Chen was scheduled to appear to campaign on behalf of candidates of his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. 'I want to offer him the national flag. He represents the Republic of China, so how come there is not one national flag to be found at his rally?' she said. The intrusion at the rally naturally infuriated Mr Chen's supporters, who attempted to eject the gatecrashers. 'The New Party candidates were able to get the TV coverage they wanted,' said a public-relations manager. For the lesser known candidates, stealing the spotlight is crucial. The election law bars candidates from directly promoting themselves on television in the 10 days prior to polling day. Since disturbances at rallies are not considered campaigning activities, footage of the stunts may be broadcast as news items by television networks. Several candidates yesterday staged rallies outside their opponents' campaign headquarters, some of which were pelted with eggs. Other candidates place the emphasis on patriotism or nationalism. New Party candidates have embarked on a campaign in which members drip 20cc of their blood over a huge Republic of China flag with a white background rather than the usual red. 'Don't you think it is too bloody?' a TV reporter asked New Party chief Yok Mu-ming. 'This is to show we love our country and we are willing to use our blood to prove it, unlike the pro-independence activists who want to bring war to Taiwan by provoking the mainland,' Mr Yok replied.