President Tsai named among most influential women by Financial Times

12/03/2021 03:33 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). CNA file photo
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been included on the Financial Times' Women of the Year list for 2021 published Thursday that also featured United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭).

The annual profile series of influential women was expanded to 25 this year and was compiled in collaboration with Financial Times reporters from dozens of international bureaus, former women of the year, and readers, the British newspaper said.

It also asked some of the most influential women in the world to write the entries, including Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde.

The entry on President Tsai was written by Carrie Gracie, a journalist who is a former BBC China editor and author.

Gracie praised Tsai for her resilience, saying that in 2021 she navigated the "dangers of the country's position on the geopolitical faultline between authoritarianism and democracy."

The U.S.' poor handling of the pandemic, domestic political turmoil and its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan have all "served to reinforce Beijing's growing confidence that U.S. global power and credibility are on the wane," she wrote.

"With Taiwan central to any future contest for supremacy in East Asia, there is no nuance in Beijing's increasingly assertive shows of military might around the island," Gracie said.

"But unlike so many of the world's political and business leaders who self-censor at the first hint of displeasure from Beijing, Tsai does not buckle in the face of intimidation. Nor does she antagonize," she said.

Tsai has articulated and demonstrated through her leadership style how Taiwan's values differ from those of China, Gracie argued.

"Her leadership offers a lesson for all of us: how to respect Chinese interests without selling out our own," she said.

In addition to Tsai, Pelosi and Chow, the Financial Times also named Director-General of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala among the most influential women of 2021.

Others on the list included Lina Khan, chairperson of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath.

On Friday, Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) cited President Tsai as saying that the nomination was not about her but instead recognition for Taiwan.

She thanked Taiwan's people for their united efforts in helping the country withstand a COVID-19 epidemic, while standing firmly at the forefront of democracy and safeguarding Taiwan's way of life, Chang said.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Ko Lin)

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