Taiwan's new president is "extreme" in her politics because she's an unmarried woman lacking the emotional balance provided by romantic and family life, a member of China's body for relations with the self-governing island wrote in a newspaper opinion piece.
In Beijing's harshest attack on Tsai Ing-wen since her inauguration last week, the new president was denounced as a flawed human being and strident advocate of Taiwan's formal independence from China, something Beijing says it will use military force to prevent.
Tsai, Taiwan's first female president, has been criticized by Beijing for refusing to explicitly endorse the "one-China principle" that defines Taiwan as part of China. But previous criticisms were not in such personal terms.
"Analyzed from the human angle, as a single female politician, she lacks the emotional encumbrance of love, the constraints of family or the worries of children," said the piece, written by Wang Weixing, an analyst with China's People's Liberation Army and board member of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, the semiofficial body in charge of contacts with Taiwan.
"Her style and strategy in pursuing politics constantly skew toward the emotional, personal and extreme," Wang wrote, adding that Tsai was prone to focus excessively on details and short-term goals rather than overall strategic considerations.
The piece appeared Tuesday on the website of the International Herald Leader, which is published by China's official Xinhua News Agency. The link could not be accessed on Wednesday, although it wasn't clear whether it had been removed. The paper did not immediately respond to questions about it.
Wang's description of Tsai's political style clashes with her calm, almost professorial manner and the degree to which she is credited with considering the challenges facing the island of 23 million, including reviving its ailing economy and balancing China's demands with overriding sentiment in Taiwan that opposes political union with Beijing.
Despite its stated dissatisfaction, Beijing has not increased diplomatic, economic or military pressure in response, possibly out of concern of further alienating the Taiwanese public.