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Taiwan presidential candidates slam China for allegedly pressuring Mayday

12/28/2023 09:05 PM
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Large screens behind the stage show the five members of Taiwanese band Mayday and lyrics from their songs at Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Dec. 1. CNA file photo
Large screens behind the stage show the five members of Taiwanese band Mayday and lyrics from their songs at Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Dec. 1. CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) The offices of Taiwan's presidential candidates slammed the Chinese government for allegedly pressuring Taiwanese rock band Mayday (五月天), after Reuters reported that the Beijing government asked the band to make pro-China comments, on Thursday.

In a statement, Wang Min-shu (王敏旭), spokesperson for Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), said the office strongly condemns the move, adding that there should be no political interference in music.

Meanwhile, KMT vice presidential candidate Jaw Shau-kong (趙少康) also said in a statement that the Beijing government "couldn't and shouldn't" pressure Mayday to make such comments, and that doing so was "totally ridiculous."

Jaw said Mayday, as one of the most important music bands in the Chinese-speaking world, has the freedom to create and perform, and should not be involved in cross-strait tensions.

However, Jaw added that as the information has yet to be confirmed, he hoped that it was not true and that China's Taiwan Affairs Office would deny the matter as soon as possible. If the incident is true, however, Jaw said he would firmly ask the Chinese government to withdraw the request.

Meanwhile, Vincent Chao (趙怡翔), spokesperson for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Lai Ching-te's (賴清德) campaign office, said the Chinese intervention in Taiwan's election has been increasingly clear, with even artists and bands have been affected.

Chao said, two weeks ago, foreign media outlets including NPR and the Washington Post reported on how China is using hundreds of fake social media accounts on platforms such as Tiktok, Facebook and Youtube to influence the Jan. 13 election.

Chao said that as the election draws nearer, China will intervene even more deeply, and the opposition parties should jointly condemn Beijing to stop it seeking to influence Taiwan's election.

Photo courtesy of B'in Music
Photo courtesy of B'in Music

Also on the incident, Taiwan People's Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on social media Thursday evening that if the report is true, he strongly condemns China for asking Mayday to make such a statement.

Ko said that intervening in the freedom to create and suppressing people's free are not allowed by Taiwanese society, and would not be supported by Taiwanese people.

Ko added that politics should not interfere in culture, and creators should not serve those in power. "When facing solid walls, people should stand with the eggs," Ko added.

Meanwhile, Tsai Meng-chun (蔡孟君), deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, said at a press conference Thursday it is never good to members of the public, including Mayday, and Taiwanese businessmen in China come under political pressure from Beijing.

The five members of Mayday perform on stage during one of the concerts in its tour of China in mid-November. Photo courtesy of B'in Music
The five members of Mayday perform on stage during one of the concerts in its tour of China in mid-November. Photo courtesy of B'in Music

Reuters reported earlier Thursday that Mayday was pressured by Beijing government to make pro-China comments, citing sources with direct knowledge of the situation and a Taiwan security note.

However, the band's record label B'in Music as well as China's National Radio and Television Administration and Taiwan Affairs Office, have not commented on the matter.

The band completed a tour of China in November, according to its schedule.

Earlier this month, Mayday was also investigated by the Chinese government over allegations it lip-synched during recent concerts in Shanghai, which is illegal in China. However, the band's record company denied the allegation, which stated that the accusations were "malicious attacks, rumors and slander."

(By Kao Hua-chien, Yeh Su-ping, Lee Ya-wen and Evelyn Yang)

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