Taiwanese pop stars Ouyang Nana and Angela Chang joined mainland Chinese artists for a televised performance to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic, despite warnings that they could face fines back home.
On the eve of National Day on Wednesday evening, both singers joined in the rendition of the patriotic tune My Homeland and Guardian, a song about the fight against the coronavirus.
Ouyang sang a line of My Homeland solo but the lyrics were not overtly political.
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Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture had previously warned that the performance could violate the island’s laws governing relations with the mainland, resulting in fines of up to NT$500,000 (US$17,000), according to a ministry statement on Monday.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said on Wednesday evening that it would work with the ministry to make an assessment, but did not clarify if the performers would be judged on the content of the songs or for simply taking part in the event.
The MAC had said earlier that “[i]n light of the increasingly severe cross-strait situation, Taiwanese should take the interests of Taiwan as a whole as their precondition for doing things”.
In a Weibo post on Thursday, nationalist mainland tabloid Global Times mocked the MAC for its “glass heart”, or sensitivity, about the performance.
Several Taiwanese politicians called for the performers to be fined.
Taiwan threatens to punish singers Angela Chang and Ouyang Nana for taking part in mainland Chinese celebration
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chen Ting-fei said the two should “definitely be punished” for their participation, Taiwan’s United Daily News reported on Thursday.
Hsu Chih-chieh, another DPP lawmaker, said that if Chang and Ouyang were found to have broken the law, they should be given the highest possible fine.
Ouyang, who had been studying the cello in the United States before the coronavirus pandemic forced her to return home, attracted controversy last year for saying on social media platform Weibo that she was proud of being Chinese.
“As an overseas student, I’m often asked ‘Where do you come from?’ ‘I come from China,’ this is my answer,” she said in the post.
Ouyang’s father, Ouyang Long, is a Taiwanese politician from the opposition Kuomintang party.
Earlier this week, Taiwanese media quoted him as saying he would not comment on her participation before the performance.
Chang, a film, television and music star, has performed for years on the mainland and been nominated for several Taiwanese music and television awards.
Users on Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging platform, said Ouyang was a “Chinese youth” and applauded her for “using her own independent thinking to have the correct stance” despite pressure from Taiwan.
Others joked that Taiwanese media coverage of the controversy meant that the patriotic songs were playing on Taiwanese television.
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