The agency of Taiwanese K-pop singer Tzuyu is cancelling her activities in China after she became embroiled in controversy after waving the Taiwanese flag during an online broadcast.
According to Apple Daily, Chou Tzuyu waved the flag of the Republic of China in an online-only segment of South Korean variety show My Little Television last November.
Controversy erupted recently after Taiwan-born, pro-China singer Huang An drew attention to the segment on Weibo and accused Tzuyu of promoting Taiwanese independence. A very sensitive subject ahead of the Taiwanese general election.
Tzuyu belongs to a multinational K-pop group named Twice, which also features three Japanese members. The broadcast clip that caused all the trouble showed Tzuyu and the three Japanese girls facing the camera, with each waving the South Korean flag in one hand and the flag of their native country in the other.
China’s Anhui TV station cancelled a scheduled Chinese New Year concert by Twice, while Tzuyu was also pulled from endorsing Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei in the South Korean market.
JYP Entertainment has cancelled her engagements in China until the scandal eases, adding that the company “[feels] extremely regretful about this controversy.”
“Tzuyu, only 16, has limited political experience and can hardly take a political stance. But the rumor has damaged our image in China and jeopardized our relations with Chinese partners.”
No doubt scared that this incident will destroy her K-pop career, Tzuyu has since filmed a grovelling apology which was posted online. In the video she is seen bowing to her audience, professing that there is only “One-China” before saying she is sorry for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.
Tzuyu is not the first celebrity for which the Taiwanese flag has caused controversy. Last April Katy Perry set off political fireworks when she wore a sunflower dress and Taiwanese flag on stage during a concert in Taipei, showing solidarity with those taking part in the Sunflower Movement.
In 2000, when Taiwanese diva Chang Hui-mei sang the anthem of the Republic of China at the inauguration of the pro-independence president Chen Shui-bian, she was barred from performing in China until the summer of the next year.