While Chinese celebrities like actress Zhang Ziyi and Chen Kun have taken to social media to voice their discontent over the handling of the MH370 incident and urge a boycott against Malaysian products and services, Malaysian stars well-known in China like Mandopop singers Fish Leong and Gary Cao Ge have become the victims of an online backlash as Chinese anger against the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines continues to mount.
According to The Malaysian Insider, Zhang, best-known for her roles in blockbuster flicks like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, wrote on Thursday:
“Malaysian government, you are wrong not to revere life. You are wrong not to respect the universal quest for truth.”
Popular Chinese singer-actor Chen Kun also wrote on his Weibo:
“For the clownish prevarication and lies of the Malaysian government and the MAS (Malaysia Airlines), and your disrespect of our people, please let me, coming from my heart, boycott all Malaysia-related commercial products and tours related.”
Fish Leong, a Malaysian Chinese singer with 12 music albums and multiple concert tours in China under her belt, was scorned by Weibo users when she uploaded a photograph of three candles on her Weibo account as a sign of respect for MH370 victims. While many fans were quick to jump to her defence, the more scathing posts included comments which cursed the expectant mother and her baby in addition to demanding accountability from the Malaysian government.
Even Shila Amzah, a Malaysian singer who wowed judges on Chinese reality show I Am A Singer 2 with her excellent grasp of Chinese songs despite being a non-native singer, was not spared from the vitriol. Netizens said she ‘deserved’ her sixth-place ranking on the show at the end of a recent episode because of her link to Malaysia, while another commented:
“The judges were not being unfair. You dare not meet the eyes of the audience, because the more you sing, the more afraid you are of them. If you really want to continue your music career in China, you better think about all those people who died and sing for them, if not everything you do will come to waste in the end.”
On the other hand, Chinese singer-songwriter Gary Cao (Cao Ge) voiced his empathy with victims of the crash, posting:
“I will walk with you guys and seek the truth and accountability from Malaysia. But the Malaysian government won’t listen to me. I can only persist in questioning them. Don’t give up, we will continue working together.”
On Wednesday, a commentary titled “Give the Malaysian Celebrities A Break” appeared on Weibo, appealing to Chinese netizens to remain level-headed and respectful of the ties of solidarity and common heritage that Malaysia and China share. Author Pan Caifu wrote:
“We are all trying to come to terms with the scale of the MH370 tragedy even as it continues to develop. In the process of voicing their discontent, a minority of Chinese citizens have also vented their anger on Fish Leong, Victor Kwan and other Malaysian celebrities. Causing harm to innocent people like that is an irresponsible act that is very much regrettable…Boycotting Japanese goods when we are on bad terms with the Japanese, boycotting Malaysian goods when we are on bad terms with them – such behaviour is neither gracious, nor rational.”
By Yuen Sin