Taiwanese pop star Chou Tzu-yu became the centre of a political storm just the night before the presidential election in Taiwan. Issues of Taiwan’s national identity and its unequal relationships with China were brought back onto centre stage.
Chou was forced to make a humiliating apology to China for daring to hold Taiwan’s flag on Korean television.
In her victory press conference, the new president – Tsai Ing-wen stated that the incident had shaken Taiwanese society and angered many people, regardless of their political affiliation.
“This particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me of the importance of our country’s strength and unity to those outside our borders,” she said.
Chou appeared in an 87-second video apologizing.
“I’m sorry, I should have come out earlier to apologize,” she said. “I didn’t come out until now because I didn’t know how to face the situation and the public.”
“There is only one China,” she said. “I am proud I am Chinese. As a Chinese person, while participating in activities abroad, my improper behavior hurt my company and netizens on both sides of the Strait. I feel deeply sorry and guilty. I decided to reflect on myself seriously and suspend all my activities in China.”
In Taiwan, online commentators compared her apology to hostage videos released by the Islamic State.
President Ma said she had done nothing wrong and called the episode “unjust and unacceptable.
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