Taiwan’s President “Unbalanced” Because She’s a Women
On this episode of China Uncensored, Taiwan’s new president needs to lean in.
Welcome to China Uncensored, I’m your host Chris Chappell. Two weeks ago, Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, was sworn into office. And despite the fact that Tsai promised to maintain the status quo between China and Taiwan, her inauguration speech did not explicitly －－endorse the “one China” policy. That’s the agreement where both China and Taiwan agree that they both belong to the same China, while being intentionally vague about which China each one is talking about.
So Chinese officials threatened to stop communication with Taiwan unless Tsai publicly acknowledges that there is only one China.
And then last week, criticism of Tsai took a more personal turn. State-run Xinhua News published a commentary that accused Tsai of being emotional, extremist, and erratic because she’s single.
This completely levelheaded and non-emotional article was written by Wang Weixing, a PLA officer and member of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, the semi-government body that deals with Taiwan.
And his article got so controversial that the propaganda department ordered for it to be deleted.
But thanks to webcache, it will live on the internet forever.
Like that embarrassing photo of me from college.
Here to talk about cross-straits relations and extreme emotional reactions, here’s the only woman on the China Uncensored team, Shelley Zhang.
Shelley: Thanks Chris.
Chris: What are you doing?
Shelley: Finding balance, Chris. It’s what I do, as a woman. It’s in my yoga. It’s in my work-slash-life. It’s even in my tea.
Chris: So you’re not surprised that Wang Weixing accused Tsai Ing-wen of being unbalanced?
Shelley: It’s hardly the first time an unmarried female leader has been through this. Look at South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Or former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. Frankly, I think Wang is probably the kind of guy who would find any woman who became the leader of a country unbalanced, even this woman:
Chris: That’s pretty good. I wonder if I could learn to do that.
Chris: Anyway, do you think the Xinhua article revealed a difference in sexism across the two straits?
Shelley: In a way, yes. If the All-China’s Women’s Federation considers educated 27-year-olds “leftover women”, then 59-year-old Tsai, who has a master’s degree from Cornell, and a PhD from the London School of Economics, is the moldy lasagna in the back of my fridge that I’m afraid to look at.
Also, Taiwan has a much higher portion of women politicians than mainland China, almost double the percentage in their legislature. But all this is ultimately a distraction.
Chris: How so?
Shelley: The Party doesn’t really care about Tsai being an unmarried woman. What they’re really worried about is how she keeps using the “c” word when talking about Taiwan.
Chris: Which “c” word is that?
“Country,” Chris. Tsai called Taiwan a country several times during her inauguration speech.
Chris: The same speech where she didn’t refer to China and Taiwan as “one China.”
Shelley: Yep. And Party officials are getting worried that their plan to subtly retake Taiwan with economic incentives and promises of autonomy aren’t looking so good lately.
Chris: Yeah, especially since Hong Kong is turning out to not be the shining example of “one country, two systems” that they were hoping would convince Taiwan.
Shelley: So that’s why Wang called Tsai erratic. Classic distraction. Look at that craaaazy woman, taking out her repressed need to have a family by calling Taiwan a country.
And, in a way, I don’t blame Wang for his article, Chris. You see, mainland Chinese of his generation grew up being told that China and Taiwan weren’t really separated. They were just, on a break. They were both still part of one big, happy China. And people like Wang hoped that someday, Taiwan and China were going to get back together.
Chris: It was looking up, for a while there. Closer economic ties. Increasing tourism. Their leaders met in person for the first time ever.
Shelley: But now, it’s looking like that break might have been a break up after all.
Chris: Thanks Shelley… for opening the wounds of divorced families everywhere. And thank you for watching China Uncensored. Leave your comments below. And if you liked this episode, please support
China Uncensored on Patreon. Once again, I’m Chris Chappell. See you next time.