When the Taiwanese actor Janine Chang Writing her masters thesis in industrial economics in 2010, she probably never imagined that two Chinese characters would become a diplomatic flashpoint and threaten to derail her lucrative acting career more than a decade later.
This week, however, that’s exactly what he did. His dissertation at National Central Taiwan University titled Issues in Artist Management and the Country’s Legal Systems sparked a huge wave of Chinese nationalist criticism online over his use of the word country.
It was proof, argued chauvinist social media users in China, that she was pro-Taiwanese independence and should be blacklisted even though Chang ranks among the most vocal Taiwanese artists to vocally take a stand. pro-Chinese.
Governments on both sides of the Strait quickly stepped in to comment on seemingly unimportant celebrity news, the latest indication of the politicization of China’s volatile entertainment industry in recent months.
Democratic Taiwan is autonomous, but China insists it is a renegade province. Taiwanese stars must pledge allegiance to Beijing and its political views in order to pursue their careers in China.
As rumors circulated that Chang’s upcoming TV series, whose name translates to female psychiatrist, could be affected by the outcry, her studio was quick to avoid negative press with an official statement that she is ‘is still considered Chinese.
Chang wrote on his official Weibo: The Chinese on both sides of the Strait are all part of the Chinese nation. I am not pro-Taiwanese independence. Its legal representatives have sent letters asking online commenters to remove defamatory and false content and to apologize. Changs representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen issued a statement on the situation without directly naming Chang, denouncing China’s intimidation of artists for their political views as unbelievable and unacceptable.
Banning someone and depriving them of their right to work because of speech deemed undesirable is not only an infringement of individual rights, but also highlights the value differences between democracy and authoritarianism on both sides of the Strait, a- she wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. This will in no way contribute positively to cross-strait trade.
The Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office fired back, calling his comments deliberate libel.
Some harmful political forces and media have ulterior motives and deliberately cause unrest in an attempt to hamper the careers of Taiwanese artists on the mainland, spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian said. [We] warmly welcome Taiwanese artists to develop their careers on the continent.
Chang appeared last year in Ann Huis Love After Love, which premiered in Venice, as well as this year’s box office hit. Detective Chinatown 3. She will then star in the long-awaited thriller by Chinese director Lu Chuan Bureau 749 and in an upcoming one hour and ten episode series of HBO Asia Original Whos By Your Side, directed by Peter Ho.
The German-born actress is also well known for her roles in popular TV series such as the 2018 viral hit Ruyis Royal Love in the Palace and the spinoff TV series Detective Chinatown.
Chang frequently repostes patriotic content and memes from state media. Earlier this year, she was among the first to drop her sponsorship deal with Adidas following Chinese calls to boycott brands concerned about cotton from Xinjiang, where the United States said there was a genocide in progress.
His actions have borne fruit. Chang was Taiwan’s highest-paid actor in the first half of this year, according to a ranking released in July by Apple Daily Taiwan. She was also the highest-paid actress in Taiwan in 2019 and the third highest-paid in 2020, the outlet said. Most of its income comes from employment and approval contracts in China.
The unusual official media support for him indicates that his career will likely remain intact.
Identifying as Taiwanese is not simply the same as being pro-Taiwanese independence, attests to a surprising editorial published by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a supreme governing body.
His conclusion, however, was more familiar: China still welcomes some of those who have made or engaged in inappropriate remarks or actions, provided they recognize their mistakes, change their mistaken positions, and resolutely support the reunification of the homeland.
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