SPOTLIGHT: PRIVATE LIVES, PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
A little Internet brush fire is spreading in China after a Beijing state-run newspaper published a long article saying that Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen is unfit for office because she is neither married nor a mother. Here's a sample: "As a single female politician, she does not have the emotional responsibilities of love, of â€˜family' or children. So her political style and strategy tend to be emotional, personalized and extreme..." Millions (not just in Taiwan, and not just single women) will no doubt be personally offended by such public comments about the private life of an elected leader. Indeed, in mainland China, which has some surprising pockets of (mostly online) free speech, publishing such opinions is not without consequences for the party leadership, which values public consensus.
Meanwhile, in a country with historically more open debate, the U.S. presidential election is moving into its next phase of the likely head-to-head showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And now Trump, who has already redefined standards of public and political discourse in disposing of his Republican rivals, has made it clear that old sex-related accusations against Clinton's husband are fair game for his campaign. No matter who is setting or breaking the rules, there are fewer places to hide for those who step into public life. But it is also true that pointing a finger at a leader's personal choices is playing with fire. Privacy always hits home for us all.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- U.S. President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Abe meet ahead of G7 summit.
- European regulators are expected to announce a new plan that would require video streaming companies like Amazon and Netflix to include at least 20% local programming.