Choosing to “single-shame” Tsai Ing-wen when fewer and fewer people in the country are okay with the idea of “leftover women” seems to have been a misstep.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua on Tuesday went after Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s new president, blaming her « having an extreme political style » on the fact that she’s a single woman.
Tsai, 59, was just sworn in office last Friday as the first female president of Taiwan. A self-made politician, a former law professor, graduate with her J.D. from the London School of Economics and a graduate from Cornell University, she's already annoyed Beijing. In her inauguration speech, she neglected to specify whether she thinks Taiwan is part of China. (Unlike the former ruling party, the Kuomingtang who lost mainland and fled to Taiwan in 1949, Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) doesn't have a history with the Communists and is pro-independence.)
Her almost perfect resumé has made her personal life the main target of criticism. Tuesday's op-ed, penned by a military analyst from the PLA military academy, used called Tsai « a complicated person who grew up in the abnormal Taiwan society and political ecosystem. »
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As a single female politician, she doesn't have the burden of a relationship, the constraints of a family, the worries about children, so politically, her style and tactics tend to be more emotional, personalized, and extreme.
It was pretty poor timing. China actually just went through a heated debate over whether women over 25 should still be called « leftover women » thanks to a TV commercial broaching the topic.
Published by the party mouthpiece, the article has been reposted by countless Chinese language media and reached a large domestic audience, triggering a public backlash.
Orders eventually came from above asking everyone to delete it — but it was too late.