Taiwan’s new president is off to shaky start in the eyes of Beijing, and at least according to one Chinese official more trouble can be expected down the road — after all, she is a single woman.
In an editorial published by Xinhua news agency yesterday, Wang Weixing, a Taiwan specialist based in Beijing, personally attacks Tsai Ing-wen, who was sworn in as Taiwan’s first female president last Friday.
“As a single female politician, Tsai Ing-wen does not have the emotional burden of love with no ‘family’ restraints or children to worry about,” Wang writes. “Her political style and strategy tends to be “emotional, personal and extreme.”
Wang continues his sexist pseudo psychoanalysis by theorizing that because of her “erratic behavior” — also influenced by the fact that her father had more than one wife — she focuses more on extreme short-term satisfaction, at the expense of long-term goals (like say, being president).
Perhaps Wang was thinking of Tsai’s decision to swap “consensus” for “historic fact” when speaking about the “1992 Consensus” during her inauguration speech last week. Beijing says that Tsai’s acceptance of the “1992 Consensus” — a cross-strait agreement of sorts that declares that there is only “one China,” but allows each side to hold a vastly different interpretation of what exactly that means — is a prerequisite for any future diplomatic talks.
Wang’s editorial has since been deleted from various Xinhua-related sites and from most major Chinese news portals.
However, it is still all over Chinese social media where it has generated a firestorm of criticism with angry netizens writing in to denounce the sexist attacks made against Tsai.
“This was the stupidest and most offensive thing I have read in ages,” one Weibo user wrote according to the BBC. “Many women abroad admire Ms Tsai’s tenacity and drive, especially the fact she is strong and independent and does not need a man to rule.”
Other netizens pointed to successful single politicians, like South Korean President Park Geun-hye and former Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, as examples for why this editorial was so offensively incorrect.
“What does being single have to do with her political views … isn’t it naked discrimination against singleton? Chen Shui-bian (former Taiwan president) is married, but isn’t he more extreme? Shouldn’t there be a bottom line for political struggles?” Li Yunlong, a professor at the Central Party School of Communist Party of China, wrote on his Weibo account, CNN reports.
At home, the editorial is drawing just as much blowback and bewilderment at how the fact that a woman is single could become such an issue.
“They are probably threatened that a cat lady like Ms Tsai could beat any men she sets her mind to – they are intimidated,” guessed another netizen.