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13 Fantastic Photos From The Inauguration Of Taiwan's First Female President

Tsai Ing-wen is 59, unmarried, loves her cats, and is now the most powerful woman in the Chinese-speaking world.

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2. Tsai's been on this upward trajectory for awhile. She was the first female chairperson of one of the major political parties in Taiwan, the first female presidential candidate.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

She also has the distinction in Asia for being the first female president that's wasn't born into a former political figure's family.

3. Tsai, the chairperson of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), took her oath of office on Friday, after a landslide election victory in January over Eric Chu, the Nationalist Party's candidate to follow President Ma Ying-jeou.


4. This is the moment of a solemn ceremony when Tsai, or "Xiao Ing" — as her Taiwanese fans affectionately caller — took her oath of office before a portrait of Sun Yat-sen, the first president of the Republic of China inside the Presidential Palace in Taipei.

5. At the inauguration, Tsai promised to fight for democracy and freedom for her country, with the help of people like her Vice President Chen Chien-jen, a doctor-turned-politician and Catholic.

6. "Dear fellow citizens, dear 23 million people of Taiwan: the wait is over. Today is the day. Today, tomorrow, and every day to come, we shall all vow to be a Taiwanese who safeguards democracy, freedom, and this country," she said in her inaugural speech.

7. That's really exciting for Taiwan's younger generations. But for Beijing, the fact that Tsai hasn't made clear if she still agrees with the "1992 Consensus," is really annoying.

Isaac Lawrence / AFP / Getty Images

Although she tactfully worded her speech, she avoided specifying whether or not Taiwan and mainland China are two independent countries.

Beijing has not been happy with her pending presidency since she was elected. Multiple warnings have been issued by government organs and reporting on her inauguration has been banned in mainland China.

The relationship between Taiwan and mainland China became complicated when Kuomintang, the Communist's rival in China's post-WWII civil war, fled to Taiwan in 1949. Ever since, both sides have said that they represent the whole of China.


8. But for Taiwan, her presidency means hope: the island has been highly dependent on mainland China economically, enhanced by former President Ma Ying-jeou, and the people want change. That includes a more diversified economy and more cooperation with countries in the region.


Rock on, Madame President. Rock on.

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Tsai Ing-wen beat Eric Chu in her most recent campaign for the presidency. A previous version of this post said she beat current president Ma Ying-jeou.

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at

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