Chinese women's rights activists have welcomed the landslide election victory of Tsai Ing-wen, who led her opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to victory in general elections on the island at the weekend.
While the ruling Chinese Communist Party struck a warning note after the DPP won both presidency and a parliamentary majority, saying her win posed "grave challenges" to peaceful ties with Beijing, grassroots activists said they see Tsai's historic presidency as an inspiration.
"It's extremely significant that a woman has won this election," Beijing rights activist Li Tingting, one of five feminists detained ahead of International Women's Day last year, told RFA.
"It's not a common occurrence anywhere in history for a woman to become a head of state," Li said. "And not only that, she's in the greater China region, so she will definitely have an impact on women in mainland China."
"She'll be an inspiration to women, but she'll also make the men sit up and take notice."
Tsai's path to the top hasn't all been plain sailing. She lost to incumbent nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) president Ma Ying-jeou in the 2012 presidential race, later resigning her chairmanship of the DPP as she conceded defeat.
But she also vowed to make a comeback in the years that followed, largely because of her strong conviction that Taiwan needs a political opposition.
"We will be back; we won't give up," she told a news conference at the time, and was voted back in as party chairman in 2014.
Gender not an issue
Guangzhou-based women's rights activist Zhao Sile, however, said Tsai's eventual victory didn't come because voters wanted a woman in charge.
"They did public opinion surveys at the time that showed that around 70 percent of voters didn't care one way or the other about getting Taiwan's first ever female leader," Zhao said.
"Tsai herself didn't make her gender an issue during her campaign, and she didn't talk much about women's rights or gender equality, either," she said.
But Zhao said Tsai's election win is good news for women in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"Assuming she serves as Taiwan president for four years, or even eight years, this will mean that people [in the region] get used to seeing a woman in a position of political power," she said.
"She's also more likely to feel a certain moral pressure to pay more attention to women's issues in her policies."
Zhao said she hoped Tsai would speak out on behalf of women's rights activists across the Taiwan Strait, amid an ongoing crackdown by the ruling Chinese Communist Party on non-government organizations (NGOs).
Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.