Taiwan teen singer in China controversy

SEOUL • The agency of teenage Taiwanese singer Tzuyu is cancelling her activities in China after the member of multinational K-pop group Twice waved the Taiwanese flag during an online broadcast.

Tzuyu, also known as Chou Tzu-yu, had waved the flag in an online-only segment of South Korean variety show My Little Television last November, said South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Controversy erupted recently after Taiwan-born, pro-China singer Huang An drew attention to the segment on Weibo and accused Chou of promoting Taiwanese independence - a political flashpoint in the mainland - amid talk that she would appear on Anhui TV's Chinese New Year show.

She has since been cut from the broadcast and Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei has also cancelled her endorsement for the South Korean market, said Taiwan Apple Daily yesterday.

Her agency JYP Entertainment has defended her against what it says are false online rumours, said reports by Yonhap and China's NetEase website.

It denied that Chou, 16, is involved in Taiwanese independence. She is a minor and what she has said does not constitute a political view, it said. The agency said that it is a "cultural corporation", has no political agenda and cannot choose between China and Taiwan.

"We feel extremely regretful about this controversy," it said. The agency will suspend Chou's engagements in China until the scandal subsides.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan teen singer in China controversy'. Print Edition | Subscribe