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K-Pop Star’s Wave of Taiwanese Flag Further Strains Relation Between Taiwan and China

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Over Winter Break while I was in Taiwan (~January 15th), the politically charged incident of Tzu-Yu Chou occupied the headlines for weeks.

Tzu-Yu Chou, a 16 year old, Taiwanese-born, K-Pop star stirred controversy in mainland China after a photo of her holding a Korean flag and a Taiwanese flag on a South Korean television show was publicized.

Infuriated Chinese nationalists urged for Tzu-Yu’s K-Pop group, Twice, a group of nine 16-year-old girls, and her to be banned from performing in China for expressing pro-Taiwanese Independence sentiments with her flag waving. Shortly after, Tzu-Yu’s South Korean management company, JYP Entertainment, issued a video of her glumly reading an apology off a piece of paper,

“Hello everyone, there’s something I want to tell you all… There is only one China, The two sides of the strait are one, and I have always felt proud to be Chinese, I feel extremely apologetic to my company and to Internet friends on both sides of the strait for the hurt that I have caused, and I also feel very guilty. I have decided that I will halt all of my current activities in China, and will go through some serious reflection. Again, I apologize to everyone. Sorry.”

Her apology caused an uproar in Taiwan that was even greater than the initial furor communicated by the mainland Chinese Nationalists. Taiwanese news & media corporations interviewed many Taiwanese teenagers on what they felt about this whole ordeal. Many of the teenagers said things such as:

  1. “I feel so bad for Tzu-Yu. She is only 16, yet she is in the midst of all this political commotion.”
  2. “She must have been forced to read word-for-word off that piece of paper. No Taiwanese person could willingly or comfortably read that out loud.”
  3. “Tzu-Yu, stay strong! We are with you!”

Tzu-Yu’s flag waving incident attracted so much attention that CNN, BBC, New York Times, and many other American media companies reported on it as well.

It must be true when they say that, with fame comes great responsibility!

With Taiwan’s Pro-Independence Party having just won the presidential elections in a landslide victory and Taiwan’s nation status still widely disputed in regards to mainland China’s (People’s Republic of China) One China Policy  – Tzu-Yu Chou’s flag waving was but one of the many incidents causing cross strait tensions between Taiwan (Republic of China) and Mainland China (The People’s Republic of China).

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