I find it ridiculous that I am using k-pop and Chinese politics in one sentence but for sixteen-year-old Chou Tzuyu, it has become one of her misfortunes from being a public figure.
Twice is JYP entertainment's recently launched k-pop girl group whose members were chosen from a reality show called Sixteen. There are 9 members - 5 from Korea, 3 from Japan and 1 from Taiwan. I happen to really like their debut song, which is cute, catchy and rightfully showcases the talent of these youthful rising stars who worked hard to earn a place in the spotlight.
Alas, the group that is only a few months old is mired in controversy because Tzuyu has come under fire for waving the Taiwan flag at a Korean variety show called My Little TV. Honestly, the more I read the more riled up I get.
The culprit is a middle-aged singer from Taiwan named Huang An who accused Tzuyu of being a pro-Taiwan activist. Huang An is known for being a snitch. Pardon the language, what I meant to say is that he is extremely pro-China making a name for himself by outing people that support Taiwan independence. Nevertheless, his allegations caught on and Tzuyu was slammed by Chinese netizens resulting in endorsement cancellations and possibly a ruined career.
This whole debacle is a reminder of how the internet can be such an easy medium for cyber-bullying, which is precisely what seems to be happening. I am trying my best to understand the reason behind the backlash and to put it nicely, I can kind of see that passionate individuals who feel strongly about politics might not want to support someone who holds opposing ideals and they have a right to their own opinions.
But what did Tzuyu do wrong? She never expressed her political views on TV. She is a performer focused on music and the arts. Besides, the flag was probably a prop given to her because what flag do you give to someone who's from Taiwan?
If anyone really had to be at fault here, I would blame the PR team for their failure to consider the repercussions of a mindless act that has been blown out of proportion since clearly, Taiwan-China relations is too sensitive a topic that should have been handled with care.
Yet what's done is done and what's left is a witch hunt on the innocent victims who are being used for political reasons. I have been to Taiwan and they use the same flags everywhere so for Huang An or netizens to pick on a minor for waving one is a complete overreaction. Huang An even has the nerve to post on Weibo (China's version of twitter) that he is proud Tzuyu finally apologized.
It was painful to watch her apology given how unfair the situation is. In the video, Tzuyu repeatedly says sorry and explicitly states her support for One China. If those were her real views, then I respect that, but it was more likely a desperate move by her company to appease the haters.
It's disappointing to see what the world is becoming and I sincerely hope she comes back from this.