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Chou Tzu-yu, Taiwanese member of K-pop girl group TWICE, is being regarded as a pro-independent Taiwanese performer for holding the R.O.C. flag on a South Korean TV show.

Chou was accused by Michael Huang (黃安), a Taiwan-born singer based in China, and is being criticized by netizens in China. However, the controversy doesn’t stop here. On January 13, JYP, the South Korean entertainment group to which Chou belongs, announced that all of Chou’s performances in China are cancelled. She has also lost a deal as the product endorser of the Chinese smartphone, Huawei. On January 14, JYP announced that Chou stands for the principle of “One China.”

South Korean media CBS No CUT reports, Chou was accused by Huang of being a “pro-independence entertainer” because she held both the R.O.C. and South Korea flags on the MBC TV program of “My Little Television.” This triggered criticism from Chinese netizens.

EBC reports, this controversy leads to the Chinese TV program, “Global Spring Festival Gala,” removing TWICE’s photo as scheduled entertainers. It is also said that Chinese companies will block JYP entertainers. In order to stop the rumors, JYP changed Chou’s “nationality” into “place of birth” on its website on January 11.

Liberty Times reports, due to the rumors, JYP announced on January 14, “JYP entertainer Chou Tzu-yu strictly stands for and respects the One China Principle. Taiwan is Chou’s homeland, where she cannot be separated from, yet this does not mean she stands for the independence of Taiwan. Chou never said anything about Taiwan’s independence, so the rumor is not true.”

Geekfounders reports, TWICE was originally invited to perform in AHTV-1’s “Spring Festival Gala.” However, after this controversy, AHTV-1 has cancelled this arrangement. JYP says, South Korean companies can’t make choices between Taiwan and China. This was challenged by Chinese entertainer agent, Chuai Bao, that this means the company is pro-independent and there won’t be future collaborations.

CNA reports, JYP announced on January 13 that they regret the false rumors regarding their entertainers. As a cultural enterprise, JYP has always been devoted to the cultural interaction between China and South Korea, and JYP entertainers, including Chou, have never engaged in politics with China. Yet the rumors have brought about negative impacts on JYP, so the company will cancel all of Chou’s performances in China until the controversy is clarified.

JYP’s statement addresses that Chou is only 16 years old. Her age and experiences aren’t enough to shape her own political stance.

Apple Daily reports, South Korean media think that the controversy regarding the R.O.C. flag is sensitive between Taiwan and China. Maeil Business News Korea says, China, opposing Taiwan regarding politics, is more sensitive to Chou’s controversy because Taiwan’s presidential election is coming up. It is reported that JYP might face severe loss because China is the biggest market of K-pop.

Liberty Times reports, chief of the KMT’s Culture and Communications Committee, Lin Yi-hua says that the KMT doesn’t agree with Huang’s accusation and hopes he can stop this kind of behavior.

Translated by Wen-yee Lee
Edited by Olivia Yang