Pelosi suggests Chinese criticism of Taiwan trip is sexist

The House Speaker says China made a “big fuss” about her visit, but “they didn’t say anything when the men came”

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 03 August 2022 10:29 EDT
Pelosi on Taiwan visit: China ‘didn’t say anything when the men came’

Nancy Pelosi has suggested China’s furious response to her trip to Taiwan may be sexist.

In a joint press conference with the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, Ms Pelosi remarked that recent visits by senior US male lawmakers hadn’t provoked the bluster and threats seen in recent days.

“I think they made a big fuss because I’m Speaker I guess,” she said. “I don’t know if that was a reason or an excuse, because they didn’t say anything when the men came.”

Beijing warned that the US was “playing with fire” and launched live-fire drills as Ms Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Tuesday night, portraying the House Speaker’s visit as an affront to its ambitions to “reunify” with Taiwan.

The inflammatory rhetoric was in stark contrast to previous visits from US lawmakers, such as when a bipartisan group including Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham, made an unannounced trip to Taiwan in April.

Then, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a relatively mild rebuke to say that the US should “stop official contacts with Taiwan, and avoid going further down a dangerous path”.

On the Chinese social media site Weibo, Ms Pelosi is often referred to as an “Old Witch”, according to the US-based news site SUPChina.

Nancy Pelosi met with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen before departing on Wednesday

Author Leta Hong Fincher wrote in a 2018 opinion piece for the Washington Post, that President Xi Jinping’s hold on power was part of a “hypermasculine personality cult”.

“The Communist Party aggressively perpetuates traditional gender norms and reduces women to their roles as reproductive tools for the state, dutiful wives, mothers and baby breeders in the home, in order to minimise social unrest and give birth to future generations of skilled workers.”

Chinese-American journalist Melissa Chan tweeted that Chinese authoritarianism was “inextricably linked to misogyny”.

“Folks — it doesn’t have to be either/or. Beijing can get worked up because Pelosi is Speaker of the House which makes the visit different, AND the fact she’s a woman is extra triggering,” she said.

Ms Pelosi said the US should not be intimidated by Chinese threats and show it was committed to the security of Taiwan.

“Whether its certain insecurities on the part of the president of China as to his own political situation that he’s rattling a sabre, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.”

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