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Taiwan politicians urge China to stop political coercion of entertainers

05/25/2024 08:54 PM
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Concert attendees prepare to enter Beijing's National Stadium for a Mayday concert on May 18. CNA file photo
Concert attendees prepare to enter Beijing's National Stadium for a Mayday concert on May 18. CNA file photo

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Politicians across party lines in Taiwan said Saturday that Beijing should stop pressuring Taiwanese entertainers into making political statements, after the popular rock band Mayday did so Friday in China.

China should honor freedom of performance and speech, allowing performing groups greater room for expression, rather than coercing them into taking a political stance, said Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Chen's remarks came after Mayday singer Ashin (阿信) said during a concert in Beijing, "We Chinese, when we come to Beijing, we must eat Peking duck."

Mayday performs in Berlin's Verti Music Hall in 2023
Mayday performs in Berlin's Verti Music Hall in 2023

Ashin's reference to the band as "Chinese" immediately began trending on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo and sparked discussions among Taiwanese netizens.

In a similar incident, Taiwanese pop diva Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) said during a concert in Nanchang City on Friday that "We, China's Nanchang , are the most passionate."

Other Taiwanese entertainers such as Cyndi Wang (王心凌), Janine Chang (張鈞甯) and Shin (信) have also expressed pro-unification views on their Weibo accounts on Friday.

Commenting on the issue, Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said Saturday that Beijing's pressure on entertainers to make political statements does not help to build goodwill between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Those actions by Beijing, along with the reactions from Chinese netizens, were clearly in response to Taiwan President Lai Ching-te's (賴清德) inauguration address on May 20, Lee said, adding that the speech conveyed a pro-Taiwan independence ideology.

Meanwhile, Taiwan People's Party (TPP) issued a statement Saturday, condemning any actions that suppress freedom of music and culture, and it called on China to respect performing artists.

Such actions are not conducive to building goodwill between the two sides, but rather serve to further alienate the people on both sides of the strait, the opposition TPP said.

Taiwan's Ministry of Culture also issued a statement, saying it understood the plight of entertainers who were being forced to make political statements in China.

"Such (coercion) would not happen in Taiwan," the ministry said.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Kuo Chien-shen, Chao Chin-yu and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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