The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused some members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of sexism after saying that former representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) would become a “scorned woman in the back of the palace” after being chosen as the running mate of Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the DPP’s presidential candidate.
The comments are an insult not only to Hsiao, but all female politicians, and show a lack of understanding of gender equality, DPP spokeswoman Michelle Lin (林楚茵) said.
She added that the comments were absurd considering that the KMT has not yet announced a running mate for its presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜).
Photo: Taipei Times file
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At a news conference in Taipei, KMT members criticized the Lai-Hsiao ticket and also suggested that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would continue to hold political power behind the scenes, as some perceive Hsiao as closely tied to the president.
They also compared Hsiao to Japanese Empress Masako, who was called the “prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne” in a controversial 2006 book of the same name.
“This comparison is very disrespectful, and improper, which could be viewed as offensive to Japanese,” Lin said.
“Hsiao has proven herself as an outstanding diplomat for Taiwan, but the KMT insulted her by calling her a scorned woman, a subordinate consort in a palace intrigue drama. So this is the KMT’s logic: That all vice presidential candidates a ‘watermelon (xigua, 西瓜)?’ Lin said, using a Mandarin term to refer to a person as a mere figurehead.
Separately, DPP International Affairs head Vincent Chao (趙怡翔) said that the KMT members’ mocking of Hsiao revealed their inward-focused, bigoted views, in which they only see the presidential contest as a “power grab” to be shared between two parties in their “blue-white alliance” with the Taiwan People’s Party.
“President Tsai Ing-wen has achieved much for Taiwan in foreign affairs, improving Taiwan-US relations to among the best in the past few decades,” Chao said. “Lai also has similarities with Hsiao, as both worked their way up from the grassroots level, while he is also quite familiar with foreign affairs, so together they are a powerful team to represent Taiwan on the world stage.”
In other news, a new slogan for the DPP ticket received a lot of attention on social media yesterday. A photograph of Lai and Hsiao taken at the Washington Monument featured a pun on their names to sound like “Made In Taiwan” (美德贏台灣).
The second character of Hsiao’s name (mei, 美) and the third of Lai’s (de, 德) are matched to form a phrase that means the candidates would “win for Taiwan,” but it also sounds like “Made in Taiwan.”
“Mei de” (美德) also means to have “good virtue” or “good moral values.”
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