Sixteen-year-old Korean pop singer Chou Tzuyu is being punished for waving a Taiwanese flag during an online broadcast.
The Taiwan-born Tzuyu, a member of a multinational K-pop group called Twice, appeared in an online-only segment of a South Korean variety show called “My Little Television” last November.
She along with the other three Japanese members of the group were filmed waving the South Korean flag in one hand and a second flag of their home country in the other. A storm of controversy followed after Taiwan-born, pro-China singer Huang An criticized the teenage K-pop singer for promoting Taiwanese independence on Weibo for the short clip.
As a result, the young pop singer has been punished for her actions with concert cancellations and sponsorships withdrawals. A scheduled Chinese New Year concert featuring Twice was cancelled by China’s Anhui TV station. In addition, Tzuyu was pulled from endorsements of Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei in the South Korean market.
Her agency released a statement after canceling her engagements in China saying that the company is “extremely regretful about this controversy.” It also read:
“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.”
Tzuyu has stepped forward to issue a public apology in a video that was posted online. Asking for forgiveness, she acknowledges that there is only “One-China” and bows her head.