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A Woman President for Taiwan

In all of Chinese history, there have only been two women who functioned as heads of state, including an empress who ruled as a man and the Empress Dowager of the last empress.

Woman have always influenced emperors as wives or concubines.

Last week, in Taiwan, in a democratic election, a woman was elected to be the president of Taiwan.

And the first thing she did was tell Xi Jinping that Taiwan would not be threatened for mentions of independence.

To think that a century ago, footbinding had to be banned as a cruel and unusual practice.

It has always amazed me as a scholar, and in my work on the Mongol Empire, that the Mongol Khans thought of their principal wives as excellent counselors in matters of statecraft. This was true for the mother of Chinggis Khan and for his principal wife, Bortai.

Khubilai Khan went so far as to include his principal wife, Chabi, in counsels of state with his cabinet of Confucian advisers, even though the presence of a woman in counsels of state, horrified the Confucians.

Mongol women owned horses and property, including herds of the five snouts, the animals that the Mongols kept for sustenance and livelihood. They engaged in trade on behalf of their own camps, and they ruled while their men were away making war. They also rode horses. This was the difference between the nomad culture of the great horsemen of the steppes and the women who were closest to the rulers of civilization, meaning settled agricultural society.

Congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen, of the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan. In her first speech, she warned that threats from the PRC would damage relations with the mainland. You go, girl.
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