It started with this one picture.
This picture was taken when the Foreign Line of TWICE guested on the popular TV program My Little Television. Tzuyu and other members of TWICE were asked to do different things that would be popular on internet and other streaming services. Mokbang, dialect courses, and dances were a few of what they did for the show.
Sometime in the middle of the show, as they four were in their bunk beds, the MBC staff gave them flags to represent their countries. Sana, Momo, and Mina were given the flags of Japan, while Tzuyu was given a Taiwanese flag. Simple, right? A few months passed before any of the controversy surrounding Tzuyu started.
Then this happened.
Huang An, a Taiwan and China-based singer, posted a call-to-action to report her as a Taiwanese independence activist and branding her a traitor. Because of this post, TWICE’s endorsements and TV appearances in China were suspended or canceled. TBV, a broadcasting station in the mainland, even went so far as banning the girl group from appearing on their station. Social media also rode on the wave by getting #boycottJYP to trend on Weibo, prompting even more websites to remove anything related to TWICE. The boycott affected other JYP Entertainment groups like GOT7 and 2PM.
In spite of comments from JYP Entertainment that try to clear that Tzuyu has no political agenda, the company has edited Tzuyu’s company profile from Nationality: Taiwan to Birthplace: China Taiwan. The profile cannot be accessed now allegedly due to the actions of Anonymous, an international hacking group , who have gotten into JYPE’s website and have prevented the general public from accessing the site.
JYP Entertainment has also uploaded a video on their YouTube account where Tzuyu is seen apologizing for her actions and publicly stating that China and Taiwan are one country and that she would halt all current activities in China to reflect on her actions.
JY Park, founder and main representative of JYP Entertainment, has also issued an apology on the company’s Weibo account. In his statement he apologizes on behalf of Tzuyu and the company to the People’s Republic of China and to Tzuyu for not cultivating her in her parent’s place.
Tzuyu’s apology and JY Park’s statement brought in mixed reactions from the Taiwanese community; saying that the apology seems forced and is similar to hostage videos. Chinese censors have dismissed the apologies as being to insincere.
With it being the election period in Taiwan, different political parties have used the issue as a catalyst for Taiwanese independence. While Tsai Ing-wen, the newly elected president of Taiwan, spoke of Tzuyu as a person who has “shaken Taiwanese society.”
“This particular incident will serve as a constant reminder to me about the importance of our country’s strength and unity to those outside our borders,” she said.
As of the moment, major sponsors have been pulling Tzuyu and other members of TWICE out of their advertisements and commercials allegedly due to the pressure from Chinese manufacturers.
Only time will tell if the diplomatic strain due to Tzuyu’s actions will blow over and let the group continue as normal. For now, as fans and as members of ONCE, all we can do is hope for the best. #StayStrongTzuyu
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