Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 63

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Reactions in Taiwan To many in Taiwan, the video’s images and texts attacked their national pride. Taiwanese netizens blamed JYP Entertainment, noting that Tzuyu must have been forced to apologize. They compared her apology video to hostage clips posted by a terrorist organization, ISIS (Chin and Chung 2016; Yonhap News 2016). Newspaper interviews recorded some of these reactions: “The Chou Tzu-yu incident makes Taiwan people realize they are not the same as Chinese people” (Liu Che-lin, 34, a musician). 9 “People in Taiwan are very angry about this. This sort of oppression from China really upsets people. If you are abroad and can’t show your flag, can’t represent your country, that makes Taiwanese people very afraid” (Hsiao Yi-ci, 29, a painter). 10 “She is just being used. We are proud to be Taiwanese. No one should be forced to say they’re Chinese. We are not” (Liu Chao-chih, 70, retired). 11 Some karaoke in Taiwan decided not to carry Huang An’s songs. Taiwan’s news channel TVBS asked 10 Taipei citizens to read Tzuyu’s apology text, but nine people gave up before completing it (Yonhap News 2016). It could be interpreted that many resisted the unjust and coercive apology. In addition, as noted earlier, her apology text includes the statements that there is one China and that she is a Chinese. These statements are profoundly contested in Taiwan (Chen 2013). In effect, a growing number of Taiwanese, particularly the younger generation, held the attitude of “non-Chinese” rather than “anti-Chinese.” Younger people embraced “a firm sense of being distinctly Taiwanese,” as a forerunner of consolidating Taiwan’s national identity (Lin 2016:31). 12 Importantly, the video was posted on the eve of Taiwan’s presidential election on Saturday, 16 January 2016. Outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou, a pro-China politician from the KMT who pursued closer ties with China stated that Chou did not need to apologize. He added that holding a ROC flag by any Taiwanese national should be supported (Chin and Chung 2016). Although he himself and his party, KMT, held a pro-China stance, the massive national wave of cheering Chou prompted Ma to support and sym- 9 Buckley and Ramzy (2016). 10 Ibid. 11 Chin and Chung (2016). 12 In the 1990s, Taiwanese became less likely to think of themselves as “Chinese,” but continued to consider themselves as both “Chinese” and “Taiwanese” as often as “Taiwanese only” (Chu 2000:304). A 2013 survey of national identity by age group showed that nearly 90% of respondents under 34 identified themselves as “Taiwanese” (Lin 2016:32). 62