Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry condemned organizers at the 2022 World Congress on Innovation & Technology (WCIT) in Penang, Malaysia, for stopping beauty queen Kao Man-jung from waving the island’s flag and joining other pageant contestants on stage.
Photos and video, shared by Taoyuan Department of Information Technology Director-General Karen Yu on Facebook, show the Taiwanese beauty queen visibly upset and in tears during the opening ceremony of the WCIT on Tuesday.
She is one of over 40 contestants in the running to become the next Miss Asia Global on Sept. 18.
In a statement on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry accused China of putting pressure on the event organizers, calling the country a “bully.”
“[The incident] highlights how the totalitarian government of the Chinese Communist Party continues to oppress Taiwanese people with cruel acts and forces the international community to accept its one-sided claims and lies,” the ministry wrote. “The Taiwanese people have the right to show their own flag and their identity internationally.”
WCIT organizers later apologized to Kao, claiming that they could not allow her to go on stage because of a “last-minute change,” Yu wrote.
“Malaysia strictly follows the one-China policy, and since this is a national event, we are obliged to follow and protect the country’s pledge in supporting the policy,” Sean Seah, the event’s organizing chairman, told Free Malaysia Today. “Running a global event like this, we are bound by guidelines. We are unable to take any position on this.”