China Continues Persecution of Taiwan, HK Artists

Photo Credit: AP/達志影像
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Many believe this confirms the existence of China’s blacklist of 55 artists.

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Songs by Taiwanese singer and songwriter Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄), singer Bobby Chen (陳昇) and Hong Kong singers Anthony Wong (黃耀明) and Denise Ho (何韻詩) appear to have been removed from music streaming websites in China on Jan. 7. The sites include NetEase Cloud Music, Baidu Music, QQ Music and Kugou Music, the Chinese-language Initium reports.

Hsu was also removed from a cosmetics ad and was replaced by Chinese actress Zhao Liying (趙麗穎), the Global Times reports. However, music she wrote for Jay Chou (周杰倫), Wang Leehom (王力宏) and other Taiwanese artists is still available.

Some English-language reports argued that the removals were due to licensing and copyright issues, because Alibaba’s streaming platform, xiami.com (蝦米音樂), still carried the works of the four singers. However, xiami.com removed the works on Jan. 9. This has been taken as proof that the removals were influenced by Beijing, which wants to block the activities of artists, filmmakers and musicians from Taiwan and Hong Kong who are perceived to be pro-independence.

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The incident has also yet to be reported by Chinese-language state media at the time of writing. The music streaming companies and the Chinese government have not responded to the reports.

On Dec. 30, Taiwan’s Apple Daily released a list of 55 blacklisted artists it said was from China’s Ministry of Culture. Apple Daily allegedly received the list from a senior management officer within Beijing’s film industry. The source told Apple Daily that the list had been widely circulated in the industry along with strict instructions to never hire the artists and performers.

The Chinese authorities have denied the existence of such a blacklist, the Initium reports.

The four affected singers were all on the blacklist which also included Taiwanese director Wu Nien-chen (吳念真) along with 28 other Taiwanese singers, bands and actors. Wu, who voiced support for the 2014 Sunflower Movement — which opposed the signing of a services and trade pact between Taiwan and China and led to the occupation of Taiwan's parliament by protesters — was accused of being pro-Taiwan independence, and has since been banned from China.

Musicians and bands from the U.S., Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Romania were also included, along with the band, Punkgod, from Jiangxi Province in southeast China. Punkgod identifies itself as being from Jiangxi, not China, and the band’s leader has expressed indignation for being labeled as a Chinese band in the blacklist. Punkgod has been wanted in China for 13 years since its participation in a Taiwan music festival in 2004. The members received political asylum from Sweden and currently reside there, the Liberty Times reports.

Editor: Olivia Yang

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