China Cancels Taiwan’s Hope Choir’s Performance Over National Anthem

China Cancels Taiwan’s Hope Choir’s Performance Over National Anthem
Photo Credit:Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

Due to perform in Hungary in August, the choir was hoping to fund the trip with a scheduled performance in China. Then politics intervened.

Hope Choir, which movingly performed the national anthem during the presidential inauguration in Taipei on May 20, was scheduled to perform in China next month and then in Hungary in August. However, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reports today that the performance in China has been cancelled because of the choir’s association with the Republic of China national anthem.

Despite the praise the choir received for its performance, which some have described as the best rendition of the national anthem ever, Hope Choir Director Tsai Yi-fang (蔡義方) says that even though organizers in Hungary invited the choir to perform there, they have had to assume all the related expenses, including airfare, for a total of as much as NT$1.5 million (US$46,000).

With nearly NT$900,000 still needed for the trip, the choir hopes to collect money through donations. Originally, the costs for going to Hungary would have been covered by the revenue generated by the choir’s performance in China. However, now that the performance in China has been cancelled — ostensibly due to politics — the choir will have to find other means to fund the trip.

Film director Chou Shi-lun (周世倫), who is making a documentary about Hope Choir, is also involved in efforts to collect the necessary funds. Although he has found many sponsors who are willing to donate uniforms and equipment, the money still isn’t there Chou says, adding that he was willing to include advertisements from sponsors in the documentary to do his bit for the choir.

There was widespread belief that the attention received due to their performance of the national anthem on May 20 would have eliminated the money problems, Tsai says bitterly. But the number of sponsors has not increased significantly, and now the whole of China knows about them.

Although funding problems remain unresolved, the choir continues to rehearse for its performance and has been invited to perform the closing act of this year’s Taipei Choir Festival.

Tsai said he hopes the children will continue performing no matter what. Hope Choir is now accepting small donations and hopes to amass the funds necessary to have more people hear their voices.

On Wednesday evening, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced she was donating NT$500,000 — the royalties from her book 英派: 點亮台灣的這一哩路 — to the choir, saying she hoped the donation would encourage others to chip in.

To donate to the choir:
玉山銀行 屏東分行
puzangalan 兒童合唱團

(This article was updated on June 15, 2016, 9:26pm: Tsai Ing-wen donation.)