Sexism Toward Taiwan’s New President

A Chinese military official described Tsai Ing-wen as “erratic” because she’s single.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

A Chinese military official criticized Taiwan’s newly elected president as being “extremist” and “erratic” because of her single marital status.

Tsai Ing-wen, who was elected Friday as Taiwan’s first female president, represents a political party that leans toward independence from China. Her election prompted Wang Weixing, a senior scholar at the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, to write a scathing column on Tuesday in Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

In part, according to the BBC, Wang wrote:

“As a single female politician, Tsai Ing-wen does not have the emotional burden of love, of ‘family’ or children so her political style and strategies are displayed to be more emotional, personal and extreme.”

The article was later removed following widespread regional condemnation for sexism. As The New York Times writes:

The article threatened to become a public-relations blunder for the Communist Party, which has sought to win hearts and minds in Taiwan in recent years as it pushes for reunification…

Throughout her political career, Ms. Tsai, a 59-year-old former law professor, has faced questions about her decision to remain single and not have children. In Chinese society, the pressure to marry can be intense, and families often look down on women who remain single into their late 20s.

Tsai has previously rejected the idea that there is only one China, a major point of contention between China and Taiwan. Taiwan separated from mainland China following the Chinese Civil War in 1949. China, however, regards it as a renegade province. Wang’s column could be a sign of increased tensions with Tsai’s new government.