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Celebrities deplore cyberbullying in wake of model's death

2015/04/23 21:23:00

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Several Taiwanese celebrities spoke out Thursday against cyberbullying and denounced online libeling, in the latest response to the death of model and actress Cindy (楊又穎), who allegedly committed suicide after a verbal attack was launched against her on social media.

In an apparent suicide note found Tuesday near Cindy's body, she said she had been a victim of cyberbullying and wanted, through her death, to turn a spotlight on the dreadful power of that practice, her brother revealed Thursday.

Upon learning about the message, Taiwanese pop diva Jody Chiang (江蕙) said in a Facebook post that she was saddened by the fall of a rising star and she urged other young adults to value their lives.

It seems there is "too much freedom of speech in Taiwan," she said, calling for an end to cyberbullying.

"I hope Cindy's sacrifice will force some people to engage in self-reflection," Chiang wrote.

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Christine Fan (范瑋琪) also wrote a Facebook post, calling for positive influences and for people to desist from cyberbullying.

She also urged the victims not be dispirited.

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me," she wrote, quoting the words of Jesus in the Christian Bible.

Commenting on the circumstances of Cindy's death, Taiwanese scriptwriter and director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) said at a news conference Thursday that cyberspace is like a market.

"Whatever netizens say, you just have to remember who you are," he said. "As long as you are doing the right things, there's no need to worry about what others say."

Singer and actress Kay Huang (黃韻玲) also expressed sadness over Cindy's death and commented on the prevalence of bullying.

Bullying is not uncommon but "we have to uplift ourselves and be brave enough to face reality," she said.

Huang said she was libeled after her first album was released. At the time, an older actress said to her "you will see more of that in the future -- setbacks are inevitable in life," Huang related.

A 24-year-old entertainer with a promising career, Cindy was found dead at her residence in Taichung on Tuesday. A note and a metal canister reportedly containing helium were found near her body.

She was one of the hosts of the variety show "Love Player (愛玩咖)" between 2011 and 2013 and made her movie debut in "First of May (五月一號)," which is due to be released next month.

Her real name was Peng Hsin-yi (彭馨逸) and she was the daughter of Peng Tso-kwei (彭作奎), who served as agriculture minister from 1997 to 1999.

The news of Cindy's death shocked and saddened her fans and many entertainers and drew an outpouring of sympathy and a storm of outrage over cyberbullying.

Much of the verbal abuse against Cindy appeared on a Facebook page that is not associated with any particular person but operates like a blog or a forum.

Most of the posts did not mention Cindy by name but instead used Chinese characters that sound like "Cindy Yang." Her stage name in Chinese was Yang You-ying (楊又穎).

The comments, apparently directed at Cindy, called her phony, naive and hypocritical, among other things.

(By Sabine Cheng and Elaine Hou)
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Entertainer Cindy commits suicide