Posted : 2016-01-14 16:33
Updated : 2016-01-21 13:29

K-pop band Twice embroiled in controversy over Tzuyu's nationality

Tzuyu / Courtesy of JYP Entertainment, Screen capture from LG Uplus video ad

K-pop girl band Twice has caught flak in China after rumors that Taiwanese member Tzuyu was an activist supporting Taiwan's independence.

The rumors began when China-based singer Huang An referred on his SNS website to Tzuyu's alleged political role, based on footage from her appearances on Korean TV variety shows. He pointed out that Tzuyu waved Taiwan's national flag on MBC's "My Little Television" in November as she introduced herself as Taiwanese.

He also mentioned she identified herself as Taiwanese on MBC Every1's "Weekly Idol."

Huang, a Taiwan-born, pro-China entertainer, is well-known for criticizing celebrities online, according to Xports News.

Huang said Tzuyu's behavior showed she supported Taiwan and demanded that the star to explain she was not a pro-Taiwan activist. He also criticized her plan to appear on Chinese TV programs celebrating the Chinese New Year in February. The band planned to appear on Beijing TV and Anhui TV.

The band's agency, JYP Entertainment, said Wednesday on its Weibo site, "We don't take any one-sided public gesture regarding China's political affairs.

"Tzuyu, only 16, has limited political experience and can hardly take a political stance. But the rumor has damaged our image in China and jeopardized our relations with Chinese partners.

"Until the matter is clarified, she will not pursue her schedules in China."

Tzuyu and other members of Twice from "My Little Television" on MBC

Despite the JYP statement, some Chinese netizens are campaigning against the band and the company. While "JYP" is a leading real-time search word on the Chinese Internet, the hashtag word "boycott JYP" has recorded more than 68 million hits as of Thursday morning, according to TV Report.

Some netizens also blamed Tzuyu for making money in China despite her Taiwanese nationality.

The China-Taiwan relationship remains a thorny issue. China regards Taiwan as part of the nation, while many Taiwanese see it as independent.

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