'Apologies to China' Contest Explodes on Social Media

'Apologies to China' Contest Explodes on Social Media
Photo Credit: Roland Tanglao @Flickr CC BY 2.0
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A war of words has developed in the Taiwan Strait, with two contests allowing users to post fake apologies for hurting the feelings of people on the other side.

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More than 14,000 people have signed up for a satirical Facebook event to offer “apologies” to China.

Held between July 16 and July 30, the “First Annual Apologies to China Contest” allows users to post their regrets over the things they have done that may have offended China. On the last day, the user with the most-liked post will be declared the winner of the event.

Many of the posts are sarcastic and taunt the Chinese.

One user from Hong Kong writes, “I don’t dare tell my children to shit on the street, I’m sorry! I use Korean phones instead of ‘domestic’ ones because I don’t want my phone to explode, I’m sorry!”

Another user writes, “The Taiwanese are holding their first apologies contest, but you Chinese must leap the firewall first, we apologize!”

Some posts reference the political conflicts Taiwan and Hong Kong have with China. One user wrote, “In Taiwan we can openly criticize our president Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and our neighboring leader Xi Jinping (習近平), we are sorry!

The contest is likely a reaction to various celebrities who have apologized for actions seen as anti-China. The day before the event began, Japanese-American actress Kiko Mizuhara apologized over her involvement with images on social media deemed offensive by the Chinese online community.

Earlier in January, Chou Tzu-yu (周子瑜), a teenage Taiwanese member of K-pop group TWICE was slammed for holding the Taiwanese flag on a South Korean TV show. She later apologized in an online video saying, “There is only one China.”

Artists who do not apologize for supposedly anti-Chinese actions are often sacked or boycotted.

Last week Taiwanese actor Leon Dai (戴立忍) was dropped from a Chinese film, following accusations of his support for Taiwan independence and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement. In June, American artist Lady Gaga was added to the China’s list of hostile foreign forces after she met the Dalai Lama.

Meanwhile, Chinese netizens have responded with their own “First Annual Apologize to Taiwan Province Contest” on Weibo.

One user, referencing the Dai incident, wrote “We’re sorry pro-Taiwanese independence actors bow to the renminbi.”

Another user referenced the typescript divide, “China is sorry to have invented the complicated traditional characters for the Taiwanese.”

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole

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