Taiwanese Envoy To U.S. Grilled About Sexual Orientation, Affair With President

King Pu-tsungIt’s nice to know we’re not the only ones obsessed with who is and isn’t gay: Taiwanese lawmakers spent Wednesday afternoon grilling new envoy to the U.S. King Pu-tsung about rumors that he’s gay—and having an affair with President Ma Ying-jeou.

Going before the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee for the first time, King (right)  was hit with more questions about his admittedly close relationship with Ma than on the state of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

In response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching asking him about his sexual orientation to “give you [King] a chance to clarify the matter,” King said he respected everyone no matter their sexual orientation, but said: “I am not [gay],” and that Ma and he were not in a relationship.

King said it was “unfair” that people have claimed that his political progress has been spurred along through sexual relationships, adding that the insinuation was also insulting to homosexuals.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pasuya Yao said he cared less about King’s relationship with Ma and more about Ma’s sexual orientation, asking King to answer him, to which King replied: “It’s not a question I should answer.”

Critics have derided the “King and Ma system,” alleging 56-year-old King, a former Secretary-General of Kuomintang and Vice Mayor of Taipei, has too strong a role in shaping policy. There is also concern that King isn’t qualified to negotiate with the State Department, which may take a more pro-China stance if Sen. John Kerry replaces Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

King, who is married, brushed off gay rumors over the summer, saying “I respect each individual’s sexual orientation, but I am not ‘brokeback.’”

Photo: Rico Shen


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  • 2eo

    I admire the brass balls of the guy. To outright call them out on attacking him because of his perceived [or actual] sexuality is a very dangerous and incredibly calculated maneuver, especially taking it public.

    People have disappeared for a lot less for decades in the reds back garden.

  • Guillermo3

    Too bad he’s not “brokeback”! I’d love to mountim.

  • weiji2001

    As usual, you media folks are spinning this. You fail to mention that Taiwanese politicians are routinely “accused” of being gay, whether true or not. Taiwan is a deeply conservative country, and this tactic is a form of character assassination. Contrast this with the fact that there is workplace protection for gays and you get a good idea that there are two Taiwans- one that still lives in 1950 and another more progressive 21st century one.

    These contrasts are always rather bizarre. When Ma Ying-Jeou was running for president he attended Taipei’s Gay Pride (one of Asia’s largest) and made a speech supporting gay rights and same-sex marriage, then never mentioned it again. Later on, after he won, a rumor spread that he had had a wild sexual affair with the black DJ of Taiwan’s English-language radio station. There was apparently a graphic DVD to prove it, which never materialized of course. But the combination of Taiwan’s ingrained racism and homophobia had the mercenary press jumping all over each other.

    More recently, the dynamic progressive politician, Tsai Ing-wen, who ran for president in the most recent election, was, during the campaign, reported in the national news as being a lesbian. The dignified Tsai gracefully ignored this. Most of the media in Taiwan is controlled by the antediluvian nationalist government and they were likely responsible for disseminating this. Despite a large turnout of support, Tsai lost.

    So this current attack – which has the more progressive party using the same tactics as the conservative one – is just more of the same. Politicians in Taiwan are largely immature and this is the most we can expect from nearly all of them – frat boy mentalities and little real work done for the nation.

  • Samuel

    it does sound Funny. having workplace protection makes Taiwan probably one of the most progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights in Asia.

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