The Communist Party of China’s official newswire is facing a deluge of online ridicule after claiming Taiwan’s first female president is “extreme” because she is single, the Guardian reports.
Tsai Ing-wen was sworn in as the self-ruled island’s new president on Friday last week.
In her inaugural address, the Democratic Progressive Party leader urged citizens to reject prejudice and look to the future.
Beijing’s official news agency, Xinhua, appeared to be staring in a different direction.
An opinion piece published by the International Herald Leader, a Xinhua-run newspaper, suggested Tsai was likely to be obsessed with detail and hold radical views that could encourage her to seek formal independence from China because she was unmarried and had no children.
“As a single female politician, she does not have the emotional burden of love, of ‘family’ or children. So her political style and strategy tend to be emotional, personalized and extreme,” Wang Weixing, a member of the Association of Relations across the Taiwan Strait, wrote.
Alex Huang, a spokesman for Tsai, told the BBC she would not comment on Xinhua’s chauvinism.
But the Chinese internet had plenty to say.
“How dare you attack her personal life!” fumed one user of Weibo on the mainland.
“Male chauvinist pig,” wrote another.
In an online post, Zhang Hongzhong, a journalism professor at Beijing Normal University, lamented the article as both intellectually flawed and highly offensive to single women.
“Since Xinhua is a state-run news agency, it will also damage our country’s image,” Zhang said.
Amid growing outrage, the piece was eventually removed from the newspaper’s website and replaced with a message that read: “Sorry, page not found.”
The article is at odds with President Xi Jinping’s professed commitment to gender equality, the Guardian said.
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