Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday that if she becomes Taiwan's next president, she will use feminism to help ease tensions with China.
Lu, the outspoken target of scathing criticism from Beijing, said that the rivals should treat each other like "relatives and neighbors."
She said she would craft a feminism-based China policy emphasizing respect, cooperation and love, rather than competition and conflict.
"The idea of feminism is not an idea to compete or to take over others," said Lu, who hopes to receive her party's nomination in May and win next year's election.
"Perhaps the leaders on both sides [Taiwan and China] can meet, shake hands and discuss an innovative approach to solve the problem. And I think I am one of those leaders," Lu, 62, said in an hour-long interview in the Presidential Office.
Lu has had a rocky relationship with Beijing since she and President Chen Shui-bian (
Both have refused to endorse the Chinese Communist Party's leadership's belief that Taiwan must unify with China. Chen and Lu have said Taiwan's 23 million people should determine the future of the self-governing, democratic country.
Lu said it is time for a new generation of leaders to dump the historical baggage left by Mao Zedong (
"Both Mr. Mao and Mr. Chiang have left the Earth," she said. ``Let the people on Earth solve the problem with our new vision and new approaches.''
The vice president also said the concept of "independence versus unification" is outdated and unhelpful when trying to improve relations. She said the two sides should focus more on peaceful coexistence, economic cooperation and co-prosperity.
Just before Lu took office, China's media bashed her in a series of articles that accused her of "harboring evil intentions," and of being a "lunatic" and the "scum of the nation."
At the time, Lu shrugged off the insults. She said yesterday that she hadn't faced such criticism in the past few years, and that she believed there was a good chance for reconciliation.
"In the near future, the Chinese leaders will reconsider our proposal," she said.
People in Taiwan often debate whether China should treat Taiwan as an equal or a subordinate.
Lu said that when she called the two sides "relatives," it could mean they are "cousins." Or, she said, "Why not say `big sister, little sister?' We can discuss that."
Lu is competing against three other candidates for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Progressive Party. Many think Lu is a dark horse, but she insists she has a good chance of winning the nomination because she is the most experienced candidate.
Although Lu has harshly criticized China's human rights record, she supported Beijing's Olympics bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
"By hosting the Olympic Games, the Chinese leaders should bear in mind they must maintain peace. They must respect human rights," she said.
Lu said it would be good for the entire region if China evolved into a peaceful democracy.
"I never wanted to see China collapse or bad things to happen. I wish them the best, and hope they also wish Taiwan the best," Lu said.