A total misreading of the situation in Taiwan by an official with China’s Association of Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) should come as no surprise, but it is still dispiriting, given the extensive number of Chinese delegation visits promoted under former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
A misogynistic opinion piece in the Xinhua news agency-run International Herald Leader on Tuesday criticizing President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was quickly pulled from Chinese Web sites, but no one who knows how tightly the Chinese media is controlled should be in any doubt that some people at high levels initially thought it was a good idea.
The commentary by People’s Liberation Army Major General Wang Weixing (王衛星), a “senior scholar” at the Academy of Military Sciences and an ARATS member, said that because Tsai is unmarried, she is extreme, emotional, prone to radical action and focused on short-term goals since she does not have “‘the burden’ of love, family and children.”
Wang also claimed that Tsai was insecure because her father had had several wives, and then criticized her family’s connections with Japan during World War II and her fondness for Japanese rice balls.
Wang’s commentary, headlined “Exposing Tsai Ing-wen,” only served to expose the rampant sexism that remains at the heart of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), despite Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) oft-quoted aphorism that “women hold up half the sky” and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) pledge at the UN in September last year to promote gender equality.
While the lives of girls and women have changed tremendously in the past several decades in China, women remain conspicuous by their almost total absence from the CCP politburo and their omission from the party’s top organ of power, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, in contrast to their increasingly prominent role in Taiwanese politics.
That a female politician should come under misogynistic attack is not uncommon in many countries in this day and age, whether on social media or publicly — as in the case of the ramblings of a Republican presidential hopeful in the US — and the vitriol in Wang’s writing did not rise to the level seen in so much of the trolling and shaming of females on the Internet and Twitter.
Unfortunately, such incidents have not been rare in Taiwan either, for those who remember how one-time democracy activist Shih Ming-teh (施明德) in April 2011 said Tsai should “clarify” her sexual orientation before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chose its candidate for the 2012 presidential election, or who remember the insults and mocking heaped upon former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) while in office or during her years as a lawmaker.
However, while Tsai’s decision to focus on a career over marriage and a family might have been questioned since she entered politics, her sex and marital status were clearly not an issue for a majority of Taiwanese voters in January.
While the Presidential Office and the DPP’s ignoring of Wang’s commentary showed it the contempt it deserved, it was heartening to see how quickly and heartily he was condemned by average Chinese and Taiwanese.
Wang said China’s dealings with Tsai would basically be a contest of will and wisdom.
He showed little of the latter, while Tsai has, throughout her career and in her resurrection of the DPP and two presidential campaigns, shown just how much willpower she has.
Personal attacks come with the territory for those in political life and this incident is unlikely to be the last blast from Beijing. However, more worryingly, it showed just how little those in ARATS or positions of power in China understand Taiwan or Taiwanese.
It is that kind of stupidity that will cause trouble, not Tsai.
French firm DCI-DESCO in April won a bid to upgrade Taiwan’s Lafayette frigates, which has strained ties between China and France. In 1991, France sold Taiwan six Lafayette frigates and in 1992 sold it 60 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. To prevent arms sales between the nations, China negotiated an agreement with France and in 1994 in a joint statement, France promised that there would be no future arms sales to Taiwan. From China’s point of view, the DCI-DESCO deal constitutes a breach of the agreement, but the French stance is that it is not selling Taiwan new weapons, but instead providing a
Chung Yuan ChristiaN University is clearly in bed with the People’s Republic of China. This can be the only explanation why the school’s authorities have done their utmost to shield a student, who lodged a complaint against an associate professor, and then used thuggish tactics to compel the teacher to issue two separate apologies to China. The original complaint, filed by an unnamed Chinese student, was for remarks by associate professor Chao Ming-wei (招名威) during a class on the origin of COVID-19. A second complaint was filed by the same student after Chao, during an apology, stated that he was a
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her inaugural address on May 20 firmly said: “We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo.” The Chinese government was not too happy, and later that day, an opinion piece on the Web site of China’s state broadcaster China Central Television said: “While Tsai’s first inaugural address four years ago was read by Beijing as an ‘unfinished answer sheet,’ the one she presented this time was even more below-par.” Speaking to the China Review News Agency, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies vice president
During my twenty-two years in the US Senate, I became a student of Taiwan and its history. I was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, and have made at least 25 trips to Taiwan and have been invited as an observer to two of the nation’s presidential elections. Taiwan’s continuous economic miracle has seen the nation transition from a mixed agricultural-industrial society at the end of Japan’s 50 years of jurisdiction to today’s economic powerhouse, unmatched by most nations of the world. Just as outstanding has been Taiwan’s decades of resistance and