Tsai Ing-wen is the first female unmarried president of Taiwan and she has never held an elected office before winning her presidency in 2016. Her rise to power was intriguing, first groomed by Lee Teng-hui while he was the president and chairman of KMT and then she was favored by DPP eventually being promoted to be the party chairperson. Her approval rating has progressively declined since she began her governance. Her support of same-sex marriage may be motivated by not so honorable reasons.
In 2016, Tsai Ing-wen won the Taiwan election to become Taiwan's first female President. Tsai was born on August 31, 1956 in Fang-shan, Ping-dong county, Taiwan. She was one of the nine children born to a wealthy business family. Tsai is the first female unmarried president who has never held an elected office before her presidency. Tracing her career, one may credit her to be a person who can sense the political wind as well as stubbornly persistent. The fact that she achieved her position today is by no means an accident. Born with a silver spoon, Tsai's early life benefited from the Kuo-Min-Tang (KMT) ruled Taiwan; she had a good K-12 education and a fair competitive education opportunity for college. To her credit, she entered National Taiwan University to study law and earned a bachelor degree in 1978. Later she obtained a master degree from Cornell University at Ithaca in 1980 and a law doctorate from the London School of Economics in 1984 according to public information on Wikipedia, suggesting that her college studies in National Taiwan University might have influenced her future studies and career directions.
As a female college graduate, she had no national military service obligation in Taiwan, thus she went straight for graduate studies abroad. It was puzzling though after obtaining a MS in 1980 she would switch from Cornell University a reputable Ivy League school to a British University for PhD studies. In normal case, one could earn a PhD in less time staying in the same graduate school unless one was either not happy with that graduate school or did not do well enough to be encouraged to continue on for PhD studies. In Tsai's case, it has puzzled some people that her name could not be found with Cornell's dissertation search engine for he MS thesis; unless she did not do a MS thesis. Furthermore, her PhD thesis could not be found in the LSE dissertation search directory either. Interestingly enough, on the Internet, there is a web page in her defense claiming that her thesis, entitled, ‘Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions’, do exist but it offers links leading to unavailable findings in both ProQuest Dissertation Express and British Library E-Thesis Online Services. Nowhere on the Internet shows her thesis other than the title. There was no abstract, no full text, and no discussions anywhere, a very unusual fact for any thesis of any value.
After her studies, Tsai returned to Taiwan to teach, first at Cheng Chi University (1984-1990) then Soochow University (1991-1993). in 1993 (age 37), she was appointed to a series of governmental positions by the then-ruling KMT and was one of the chief drafters of the special ‘state-to-state’ relations doctrine of then President Lee Teng-hui. Tsai had clearly become Lee's protégé at that time. Lee, although the designated leader of KMT, was a double faced cunning politician plotting for Taiwan independence deviating from KMT's ‘One China and Reunification’ platform. Lee was eventually ousted from KMT but not until he had succeeded in dividing KMT into several factions and cultivated a few key protégés or followers. In 2000, the President of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, a secret follower of Lee challenged KMT and won the presidency. Tsai served as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council in Chen's first term as a non-partisan appointee.
She later joined DPP in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-designated member (no constituents) of the Legislative Yuan. From thereon, she was appointed (obviously a grooming task) Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet's mass resignation in 2007. She was elected and assumed DPP’s chairperson in 2008, following her party's defeat to Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) in that year’s presidential election. Tsai had run for Mayor for New Taipei City in the November 2010 municipal election but was defeated by Eric Chu (KMT). In April 2011, Tsai became the first female presidential candidate of a major party in the history of the Republic of China after defeating her former boss, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP's primary by a slight margin (Her rise to the top of DPP is intriguing, some say it can be traced to Lee and Japan and some say it can be traced to the U.S.). She was defeated by the incumbent President Ma (KMT) in the 5th direct presidential election (2012). Tsai resigned from the DPP leadership in 2012 for her failing presidential run, but she was reelected party chairperson in 2014. DPP again nominated Tsai as its candidate for the 2016 6th direct presidential election and she won by a landslide against Eric Chu (KMT). Her victory was to a large extent due to KMT’s falling approval rating in Taiwan.
Since Tsai’s inauguration on May 20, 2016, her approval rating had progressively declined (to 30% or 18% by a “Green” inclined survey) as she was earnestly pursuing an anti-Mainland China policy. First, she refused to acknowledge the 1992 pledge that two sides cross the Taiwan Strait agree there is only one China but permitting two political systems. Then she is pushing for strengthening military forces by initiating a Navy ship construction program (to resist Mainland’s existing and future carriers) and a plan to purchase the US stealth F-35 fighter jets. Moreover, she is increasing effort to distance from Mainland culturally and economically. She launched a ‘New South’ strategy to focus trade, investment and tourism towards Southeastern Asian countries to compensate Taiwan’s loss from a deteriorating Cross-Strait relationship. However, all her policies so far have caused serious anxiety in people concerning the future of Taiwan. Although she had not made direct open remark pushing for Taiwan Independence, a serious redline of Mainland China, her government had been busy making obvious anti-Mainland writings on the wall. Her governance and performance as the President of Taiwan can only suggest that she is well trenched in the Taiwan Independence cliché tied to Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian and Japan connection and she is trying shrewdly to play ball with the anti-China Americans to renege the ‘One China’ commitment. She and her Taiwan Independence push may be persistent but unlikely to succeed as indicated by her falling approval rating.
Recently, the same-sex marriage became a hot issue in Taiwan. A group of supporters is pushing for legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Tsai expressed her support for law revision, why? The answer does not lie with the fact that she is a woman (61) never married since she won’t gain any advantage by having a same-sex marriage. The answer lies in the fact that she needs distractions from her governance critics, especially cross-strait relations and deteriorating economy, and possibly she may gain financially. Tsai’s government had tried very hard to attend WHA uninvited on the basis that they cared about the health of Taiwan people. But don’t they realize that same-sex is the single major culprit for HIV or AIDS. South Africa is the living example having seven million with HIV (2015). Does Taiwan want to become like South Africa? A “rough” estimate claims Taiwan having 33000 HIV carriers and increasing by 6 per day. Ignoring the moral issue in Chinese culture and just focusing on healthcare cost alone, an AIDS patient needs “roughly” $30,000 for medical care per month, that is roughly $990,000,000 per year cost to the national healthcare treating the 33000 AIDS patients. The 6 per day growth means 6.6% annual cost increase. Why is Tsai supporting same-sex marriage? Is it possible that she is motivated by financial gain from her biomedical and pharmaceutical investment in addition to the fact that she needs a distraction from political issues?