Why is the Taiwan President called Leader or Ruler?

June 16, 2017

Articles sometimes refer to the President as just the “leader” or “ruler” of Taiwan, rather than using their correct title. This minimizes the President’s role, and essentially demotes them to a provincial leader or regional administrator instead of a head of state.

Chinese journalists are expressly prohibited from using “President (or Vice President) of the Republic of China” in articles. By using the same language as the restricted Chinese media, English language journalists and analysts actively reinforce the Chinese view of Taiwan as merely a province of the PRC.

The democratically elected President of Taiwan serves a term of four years. He or she is the Head of State of the Republic of China (ROC). The President also serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the ROC Armed Forces. Due to the island’s political status, there are complex diplomatic protocol issues surrounding the Taiwan President. However, they usually receive standard head of state treatment when making international trips to diplomatic allies.