Mainland Chinese media have launched an attack on Taiwan opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen as she is poised to unseat the ruling Kuomintang, which is friendly to Beijing, and become the island nation’s first female president.

Tsai, chairwoman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, has been leading the polls against the Kuomintang’s Eric Chu and People First Party’s James Soong ahead of Saturday’s general election.

Tsai recently came under fire for “dodging interviews”, China’s CCTV said in a news programme on Friday. The state-owned broadcaster said Tsai had scarcely spoken to the media in the last few days, “prompting criticism from quite a lot of journalists.”

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DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: Wikimedia.

However, according to Taiwan media, Tsai talked to reporters at least three times this week on her last campaign trail. She last held a press conference in Taoyuan on Wednesday.

CCTV also cited Tsai’s rival Chu as saying the 59-year-old “always used empty talks to hypnotise voters.”

Meanwhile, the nationalistic Global Times, which is run by party mouthpiece People’s Daily, said the US has “warned Taiwan’s future leader not to forget the ‘one China’ principle.” The newspaper cited “international media” as saying Tsai’s cross-strait policies are “worrying” in another report.

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Mainland media’s negative reports on Tsai. Photo: HKFP.

In the heavily censored comments section of the reports, many said Beijing should go to war with Taiwan if Tsai seeks independence. “It will be the end of her if she dares say independence,” one comment said. However, others said the fact that so many Taiwanese people support Tsai showed “reunification is only a dream.”

According to various polls conducted last week, Tsai is leading her rivals by over 20 percent in popularity.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.