A Chinese official downplayed singer Deserts Chang’s “feelings hurting” of Chinese fans and media when she unfurled a Taiwan flag onstage at a concert at the University of Manchester. The official, Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China’s State Council, stated:
“We look forward to seeing people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, especially the younger generation, increase ties and engagement with one another to enhance mutual understanding, feelings of familiarity, and ethnic identity, so that we can work together for a Chinese renaissance.”
The transcript of the incident is as follows:
At the concert held on Saturday at the University of Manchester, attended mainly by students from Taiwan and mainland China, Chang took a Taiwanese flag from a group of fans in the front row and unfurled it on stage.
“I see there are also people who bring a national flag to the concert,” the 32-year-old singer-songwriter said, adding “I have not felt so patriotic for a while… and I am from Taiwan.”
Chang was soon interrupted by a female Chinese student, who shouted in English: “There are students from mainland here. No politics today!”
To which Chang replied, “It’s not politics, it is just a flag that represents where I am from.”
It was a minor argument involving two people, and other Chinese students at the concert did not get involved.
However the incident blew up online when netizens called Chang’s actions an open declaration of Taiwan’s independence, and act of arrogance towards Chinese students. Others even called for her to be banned from concerts on Mainland China, and the entertainment industry in general.
As you can see Fan Liqing has a ways to go to improve cross-strait relations.
[Cue further examples of poor cross-strait relations in comment section]
And in the category of onstage political shenanigans, Chang’s flag-waving still pales in comparison compared to Bjork’s call for Tibetan independence at a concert in Shanghai 5 years ago.