A detailed timeline and summary of The Tzuyu Event is summarized in the latter half of this article. Screenshots of Chinese netizens’ comments with English translation can be found on Taipeimain’s Facebook page. Screenshots and complete English translations of other Tzuyu Event documents (*1-7) mentioned in this article can be found in the article: One China Against The World.
The Tzuyu Event refers to Tzuyu’s Flag Incident, wherein Chou Tzuyu (周子瑜), a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl, was forced to give up her identity as a Taiwanese person and apologize for holding a Taiwanese flag on a South Korean internet reality TV program.
The Tzuyu Event shows the world that despite having 1.3 billion people, China is unable to stop itself from coercing a weaker group into doing something against the weaker group’s will. Even though China claims itself as a world power, the Communist Party of China and its citizens show that they are still very far behind Western countries in ethics, and that they do not know the true meaning of freedom, equality, and human rights.
“The United States will vote against the resolution to expel one of our members (Taiwan, R.O.C.) in order to make room for the regime in Peking. No delegation in this debate has been able to refute what is in fact undeniable. That both in words and in deeds, Communist China rejects the commitment required of member states to settle their disputes by peaceful means and to abandon the use or threat of force in international relations.”
China has been known for placing low regards on human rights, freedom, and as seen in the transcript here, behaves like a bully who uses or threatens to use force to achieve what they want. Half a century later, China is still as barbaric as it had been. China sees no wrong in forcing weaker groups into doing what China wants of them. As of 2016, I see little to no progress in ethics and morality improvement in the Communist Party of China and its citizens, as they still behave like freedom and equality do not exist.
If a country of 1.3 billion people cannot stop their internet bullies, whom they claim to be the minority, from taking away an innocent girl’s freedom of expression, then it is in fact undeniable that this country’s value system is too similar to those of their internet bullies to make a difference.
It seems unlikely that China will ever understand what it means to have the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of identifying with Taiwan and saying one’s nationality is Taiwanese without being punished by China.
The Tzuyu Event lets us see clearly what the world is now facing, The China Problem.
Below is a timeline and progression of The Tzuyu Event, with annotations and commentaries.
(Credits: first draft compiled by once_a_fan, rewritten and new texts added by Taipeimain.)
(Screenshots and complete English translations of mentioned Tzuyu Event documents *1-7 are presented in the article: One China Against The World.)
Chou Tzuyu, born June 14, 1999, is a 16-year-old K-pop singer. She is born and raised in Taiwan, and holds a Taiwanese passport. Tzuyu entered JYP Entertainment, one of the top three entertainment companies in South Korea, at the age of 13 to train.
In 2015, Tzuyu participated in a survival talent show, Sixteen (2015), and was chosen to debut in the final episode of the show. Since the Sixteen show, wherein Tzuyu was introduced to the public, she has always stated that she is from Taiwan.
JYPE also lists Tzuyu’s nationality as Taiwan on her official profile page.
(By definition, nationality is based on the passports held by a person. It is irrational of Chinese netizens to use Tzuyu’s nationality as evidence to accuse Tzuyu of being a pro-independence supporter. Tzuyu holds a Taiwanese passport; therefore, JYPE is not wrong to put her nationality as Taiwan.)
November 22, 2015: On South Korean’s internet reality TV program, My Little Television, Tzuyu waves a Taiwanese Flag.
Many Chinese netizens were enraged that Tzuyu held the Taiwanese flag on Korean TV. As soon as this broadcast was released, many hateful comments surfaced on Chinese sites and social media, attacking Tzuyu for basically, being a Taiwanese person. Attacking someone for being who they are is wrong. Yet for the past half a century, China has consistently been attacking people who identify as Taiwanese. Though this can’t be called racism, or anti-Semitism, it should have its own term. Perhaps we can call it anti-Taiwaneseism or genocitaiwan so that international organizations such as the United Nations can finally realize how much of a joke they are.
Chinese netizens’ hate comments included “I now know she is pro-independence, do not come to China,” “We don’t give girls like her any chance,” “Her company must be blocked in China,” “Go tip her off to Huang An,” “What kind of whore is she,” “Bomb up Taiwan Independence bitch’s family.”
(The display of the Taiwanese flag has always been faced with criticisms and bitterness from Chinese people, as China still refuses to accept Taiwan as a separate country and continues to pretend Taiwan’s autonomy does not exist. Even in the Olympics, Taiwan is forced to hold a different flag due to China’s threats to cut business opportunities with countries that recognize Taiwan. Though the Chinese Civil War between People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Republic of China ended officially in 1991, Taiwan has been a country free of communistic control since 1949. Ironically, since 1949, the year the Communist Party of China established a government in Beijing, Chinese people have been taught to believe that Taiwan is a part of China. So when debates arise on this issue, Chinese people think there is only one correct answer and that the issue is not worth debating, because they have always believed Taiwan is China.)
Note: The official name of Taiwan is R.O.C., the Republic of China. Think of it this way. Americans refer to themselves as Americans (and not USA-ers), other countries call the U.S.A. America, but the official name of America is U.S.A., the United States of America. In the same fashion, Taiwanese people call themselves Taiwanese and not ROC-ers.
President of Taiwan Ma Ying Jeou’s statement on January 16, 2016, concerning the flag of the Republic of China states that, “. . . . We believe it is legitimate and should be supported, when our citizens who identify with the Republic of China display our flag, whether it’s within our country or outside the country. . . .” (** Well isn’t that common sense? Why should it be illegitimate or illegal for someone to display a country’s flag??)
Complete translation of President Ma’s statement can be found in our article: President of Taiwan Supports Tzuyu.
November 23, 2015: Huang An makes first post on Weibo along with a picture of Tzuyu holding the Taiwan flag and comments that a Taiwanese girl went on a Japanese show, and got the chance to wave the Taiwanese flag; this girl must think motherland Mainland China is a thief.
(First of all, it was a Korean show. Second, his comment didn’t even make sense. Third, this is slander; his comment defamed Tzuyu, he should be sued for libel. Fourth, not all Taiwanese consider Mainland China their “motherland.” Don’t impose your own belief on others. Fifth, why the hell do Chinese netizens and basically, China, look up to and listen to this random person?? Sixth, why the hell can’t she hold a Taiwanese flag when she is a Taiwanese who is born and raised in Taiwan??)
These hate posts by Chinese netizens and Huang An’s first Tzuyu post in November of 2015 as soon as My Little Television was aired serve as proofs that The Tzuyu Event was instigated by Chinese netizens and Huang An long before Taiwan’s Presidential Election (January 16, 2016). This subsequently proves that Taiwan media and political groups are not the ones that started the witch hunt on Tzuyu. The Chinese residing in Mainland China started it all.
January 8, 2016: Tzuyu is on a South Korean show A Look At Myself with Jackson Wang, a member of the South Korean boy band, GOT7. Jackson at first says that he is Chinese, and that Tzuyu is from Taipei. In response to that, one of the South Korean hosts, Jo Young Nam, who is 70 years old (born 1945), says that Taipei is Taiwan, and punches the other host, Lee Kyung Kyu, for mixing up Taiwan and China. (The post-production captions of the show also put in a picture of the Taiwanese flag and write that Tzuyu is from Taiwan.) So Jackson then says that Tzuyu is from Taiwan, but quickly adds Taiwan-China. Tzuyu nods when Jackson says Taiwan, but doesn’t nod to Taiwan-China. The hosts cut in straight after Jackson said Taiwan-China and Tzuyu did not get a chance to express if she agreed to that.
(Honestly, why should she be forced to identify herself as something she doesn’t identify with? Tzuyu has always stated that she is from Taiwan. Period. She has never said she is from China-Taiwan. “Forget about politics. No one has the right to decide someone’s identity for them. We share the blood of the same race, so what? I am the only one who can decide who I am, and I have decided that I identify as a Taiwanese.” Credit: hmniay.)
January 8, 2016: Huang An makes posts on Weibo pinning Tzuyu as a Pro-Independence supporter by posting screenshots of Tzuyu saying she is from Taiwan on South Korean TV shows. He makes 7 posts containing derogatory terms (i.e. Taiwanese Independence dog, etc.) to accuse Tzuyu of being pro-independent, raising the heat of this issue.
Huang An’s accusation was of course, illogical, because saying “I am from Taiwan” does not equate “I am a pro-independence supporter.” Furthermore, even if one were a pro-independence supporter, one should have the freedom to say so without being punished by the dictatorship that is Communist China.
Huang An (黃安) is not a political figure nor is he anyone influential. He is a singer from Taiwan who moved to China and he is known for accusing celebrities of supporting Hong Kong / Taiwan independence so that they can no longer enter the Chinese market. Despite being unpopular as a singer, Huang An has been successful on all accounts of his accusations. The Chinese government officially states that public media broadcasts cannot contain anyone or any content in support of pro-independence, so whenever Huang An accuses someone of being pro-independence, public broadcasting stations ban that person. (** I honestly think that is completely idiotic. I mean why the hell would you ban someone from the whole country just because some random person SAYS the accused person is pro-independence? There is a thing called innocent until proven guilty, China.)
January 10, 2016: Tzuyu and Twice, the South Korean girl band of which she is a member, start to trend on Sina Weibo. (Tzuyu then continues to trend on Weibo for more than 5 days; this is unheard of and a first in the history of Weibo.)
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens across multiple media reports:
- Get out of China.
- Make a public apology.
- If you don’t love China stop coming here to earn money.
- We will fight all pro-independence supporters to the end.
- Being 16 is no excuse.
January 11, 2016: Beijing TV states that they will not broadcast the recording of Twice for their Spring Festival Gala.
January 11, 2016: Huawei with LG terminates contracts with Twice, and states that they will not work with JYPE in future.
Note: In December of 2015, Tzuyu starred in three immensely popular LG smart phone commercials that were positively reviewed by and widely circulated in South Korea. As a result, South Koreans generally refer to that specific LG cellphone model as “The Tzuyu phone.”
January 11, 2016: An Hui TV withdraws Twice’s invitation to perform in its Spring Festival Gala.
January 11, 2016: Kuwo Music (Chinese version of Spotify) removes all JYPE artists’ songs and music videos. Kugou Music (same type of music site as Kuwo) removes all Twice’s songs and music videos.
(Kuwo might have removed them due to copyright issues, but since a few other music applications in China followed suit and other Korean artists’ music are still there, it was very likely that Tzuyu’s flag issue was a factor that caused the removal of Twice’s and JYPE artists’ songs.)
January 11, 2016: Jackson’s appearance on Day Day Up, a Chinese variety show, is canceled. (Later rumors suggest it was postponed, however no official word has been released to explain why Jackson’s appearance was canceled.)
January 11, 2016: JYPE changes the “Nationality” category to “Birthplace” on Twice members’ and Tzuyu’s profiles.
The original profile listed – Nationality: Taiwan. It was changed to – Birthplace: Taiwan.
January 12, 2016: Chuai Bao, the talent agent in China that invited Twice to perform on An Hui TV, deliberately leaks a private conversation* between himself and JYPE on Weibo.
*1-Screenshots and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
The leaked conversation shows that JYPE refuses to choose from the 3 options An Hui TV asked JYPE to choose from. An Hui TV has demanded JYPE to (1) send a different idol group, (2) return the security deposit An Hui TV paid JYPE for Twice, or (3) have Twice perform without Tzuyu. JYPE responds by saying that JYPE is a South Korean entertainment company and does not want to comment on China’s and Taiwan’s politics. JYPE also states that to protect their artists, they cannot return the security deposit, but JYPE is willing to send its other artists for low prices in the future. At the end of the conversation, Chuai Bao concludes baselessly that JYPE supports pro-independence.
Chuai Bao’s post pointed the hate toward Tzuyu to both her and JYPE. The comments on Weibo started to demand an apology from JYPE and demand that JYPE must acknowledge the One China Policy. Chinese netizens started to label JYPE as a company that supports pro-independence and threatened to boycott all JYPE artists.
Chuai Bao (揣寶) deletes his post as the controversy grows wilder. (Chinese people do this on Weibo often; they do this for one reason usually: To bring more attention and increase publicity whether it’s for himself or to bring hate upon someone else.) (** Honestly, this Chuai Bao person should have been sued for breaching business laws. But hey, it’s China, there are no laws there.)
January 12, 2016: Both #boycottTzuyu and #boycottJYPE start to trend on Weibo. While hashtags calling to boycott Tzuyu and boycott JYPE are used, derogatory hashtags such as “Tzuyu is a dog” are also used to trend the Tzuyu Event on Weibo.
January 12, 2016: A Facebook profile titled “Tzuyu 周子瑜,” which makes pro-independence comments, is found by Chinese netizens. A lot of Chinese netizens screenshotted the comments and said that those were from Tzuyu’s personal account. The screenshots were copied and pasted all over Chinese social media and the comment sections on Chinese news websites, and hate speech against Tzuyu became uncontrollable.
That Facebook profile was a fake account. Tzuyu does not run any social media accounts herself. But Chinese netizens didn’t care by this point; they were doing everything to terrorize JYPE and Tzuyu and making threats to end JYPE’s and Tzuyu’s careers in China. They flooded social media and the comment sections of broadcasting stations with millions of threats and hate speech, calling Tzuyu a dog, whore, and various horrible names. Chinese netizens even photoshopped Tzuyu’s face onto pornographic pictures and spread them everywhere; Tzuyu is only sixteen years old. Many death threats of Tzuyu were also circulating on social media worldwide.
January 13, 2016: JYPE changes Tzuyu’s profile from – Birthplace: Taiwan, to – Birthplace: China-Taiwan.
January 13, 2016: JYPE releases Official Statement #1* on their official Weibo account. It states that neither JYPE nor Tzuyu had ever made any pro-independence statements, that JYPE will cancel activities in China for Tzuyu for the time being, and that Tzuyu is only 16, which is underage, and cannot form her own political views yet.
*2-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens:
- Official apology from JYPE in different languages and upload onto Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Video apology from Tzuyu stating that she agrees that there is only one China and she agrees that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. (** Japanese netizens’ wise words on the whole One China thing Chinese netizens are obsessed with: “One China. One Taiwan. What’s the problem?”)
- 0 points for this statement.
- If we see Tzuyu in Taiwan, that means JYPE is a pro-independence supporter.
- I’m 16, South Korea belongs to North Korea (teasing emoticon).
January 13, 2016: JYPE’s stock starts to drop. JYPE’s stock on KOSDAQ drops from approximately 4500 KRW per share on January 13, to approximately 4150 KRW per share on January 15.
January 13, 2016: Chinese netizens make comments on Jia’s, Fei’s, Nichkhun’s (artists of Chinese descent who are signed to JYPE) Weibo accounts telling them to leave JYPE or they will lose the Chinese market.
January 14, 2016: Innisfree, a Korean makeup brand, makes official statement stating that Tzuyu is not an endorser of Innisfree and Tzuyu’s statements do not reflect those of the company.
(Although Innisfree is a Korean brand, they sell to China and don’t want the Chinese market to boycott their products.)
January 14, 2016: JYPE releases Official Statement #2* on their official Weibo, this time stating that JYPE supports the One China Policy.
*3-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
(It is true that JYPE can leave China and promote in Korea, but the Korean and Chinese markets overlap and saying that JYPE will let go of the Chinese market will have a lot of negative consequences with their partners. A lot of Korean companies, award shows, variety shows etc. are sponsored or collaborate with Chinese companies. Chinese netizens know the power of the Chinese market, which may be why their comments are very harsh and irrational on Weibo because they know there is no way JYPE can let go of the Chinese market.)
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens:
- Too late.
- Video apology from Tzuyu and distribute on international social media platforms.
- Don’t believe this, they are posting different stories on other media sites overseas, causing international netizens to criticize us for overreacting. (** We don’t think Chinese netizens are overreacting, we think they are barbaric and crazy.) (JYPE did not post different versions of their statements. There was only one version, which was the ones Chinese netizens saw.)
- Only doing this because JYPE’s stock price is falling.
The Tzuyu Event has become an international concern as numerous news outlets from different countries (U.K., Korea, Japan, Philippines, U.S.A., Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and more) cover the story.
Korean and Japanese netizens expressed their disgust with China’s mistreatment of Tzuyu and gave the Taiwanese girl their support. Top comments were the likes of “One China. One Taiwan. What is the problem?” “In Japan Taiwanese celebrities can normally say ‘I’m a Taiwanese person’ so I don’t really understand this,” “Taiwan is not China,” “What is wrong with a Taiwanese person holding a Taiwan flag?” “What mistake did she make? She can’t even hold her own flag?” “Korea supports Tzuyu,” “Acting like this to a young idol accomplishes nothing, it doesn’t make Taiwan yours.” “What are they doing to this young kid? This is so cheap of them.”
January 14, 2016: IQIYI, the sole online broadcaster of Seoul Music Awards, blurred out Twice’s album cover during the award show’s broadcast.
January 14, 2016: Nichkhun’s (artist signed to JYPE) fan meeting in China is canceled.
January 15, 2016: Park Jin Young, CEO of JYPE, releases an official statement of apology*.
*4-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens:
- Have you posted the same apology on international media sites?
- JYPE is stirring up the Korean community and international community causing hate towards Chinese people and the Chinese government. (** No, you guys caused it all, JYPE and Tzuyu did nothing wrong. Your actions brought to light how barbaric the Chinese still are even after half a century of supposed progress in humanity.)
- Can’t stand your stock market prices dropping anymore?
There are Chinese netizens that are translating comments of international netizens criticizing China over The Tzuyu Event on Instagram, Facebook, and other English-based KPOP news websites, and saying that it is JYPE behind all the criticisms. Seeing how the international communities are criticizing China for bullying Tzuyu, Chinese netizens start to spread the rumor that JYPE is only apologizing on Weibo while saying something different on other social media that are blocked in China. Of course that isn’t the case. JYPE only ever released one version of their official statements, a.k.a. the ones on Weibo. Chinese netizens can’t seem to see that what they are doing and demanding of Tzuyu and JYPE are embarrassingly barbaric, which is essentially the reason the international communities are criticizing the Chinese.
January 15, 2016: JYPE posts video apology from Tzuyu on Youtube and Weibo, titled “Chou Tzuyu Public Apology,” as demanded by the Chinese netizens.
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens:
- Looks like she was forced to do this, it doesn’t feel genuine. (**No shit Sherlock. She doesn’t need to apologize at all. She is forced to apologize by you guys.)
- We want three versions: Chinese, Korean and English and release onto Instagram, Facebook and other Korean media sites.
- Kneeling down to money.
January 15, 2016: QQ Music (biggest online music platform in China) removes all Twice’s music from their app.
January 15, 2016: Huang An “retweets” (re-Weibo-es) Tzuyu’s apology video and celebrates his victory.
*5-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
Translation of Huang An’s post: Tzuyu finally apologized! She admits that there is only one China, that it is one and the same across the Taiwan Strait. She acknowledged that she is One Chinese and is proud of it all along. The day we’ve been waiting for finally came! We’ve again acquired a good girl who acknowledges her motherland. Citizens of the motherland once again achieved a big success in stopping Taiwan’s road to Taiwanese independence. Everyone spread the news! (** He honestly sounds like a lunatic.)
January 16, 2016: Chinese actor Lin Gengxin mocks Tzuyu’s apology by reposting JYPE’s Weibo post containing Tzuyu’s apology video and adding the comment, “The apology came so suddenly she had no time to memorize her script (laughing emoticon).”
*6-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
Note: Lin Gengxin had 28 million followers on Weibo at the time he mocked Tzuyu’s apology. To put this into perspective, when Lin Gengxin had 28 million followers on Weibo, Kris Wu Yifan had 14 million, and the tenth most followed Weibo account had 38 million. So Lin Gengxin was likely the top 20 most followed accounts at the time he posted the mockery.
January 16, 2016: “Chou Tzuyu (周子瑜)” is blocked on Sina Weibo. A message* that reads “According to rules and regulations, Chou Tzuyu search results will not appear” shows up when 周子瑜 is searched.
*7-Screenshot and English translation are included in the article: One China Against The World.
January 16, 2016: CCTV, China Central Television, a station controlled by the government, plays Twice’s performance video with Tzuyu in it.
The Chinese government could have stopped the bullying from happening if they wanted to, but they let Tzuyu trend for over 5 days on Weibo before they blocked it from trending. This is because Chinese government realizes that their plan to show China’s undeniable strength has backfired. Initially, China wanted to show Taiwan and Korea that no one may deny China. But now that China is being criticized by the international communities for their bullying of Tzuyu, Chinese government wants to brush the event under the carpet and rid China of the blame by framing Taiwan. (** Too late, we screenshotted everything. China’s brutality is exposed. You can’t burn down the internet to hide your acts, China.)
Top rated comments from Chinese netizens:
- Mainstream media in the country has made it clear we have to shake the thing off back to Taiwan media and JYPE.
- We must follow the Party (Communist Party of China), kick the ball back to Taiwan media, rid ourselves of the blame.
- Chou Tzuyu is not our target anymore, no need to pay attention to her, just blame Taiwan media.
- Stop going on foreign sites to talk bullshit, the Party (Communist Party) has restricted public opinions in the attempt to get China off the hook and frame Taiwan at the same time, stop acting like a drag on us, quickly keep up with the Party.
- Let’s spread that Taiwan media and political groups made this a big issue and created hatred cross-strait to gain votes right before their elections. Let’s translate this into Korean and English and spread it on Facebook and Youtube.
So just like that, after causing sponsors to drop endorsement deals, broadcasting stations to rescind performance invitations, and forcing innocent people to apologize for doing nothing wrong, Chinese netizens say they don’t accept the apology and are now blaming JYPE and Taiwan. It’s clear that whatever JYPE or Taiwan does, nothing will satisfy the Chinese netizens.
Chinese netizens continue to believe they have not done anything out of line, and continue to point fingers at JYPE and Taiwan while showing no trace of repentance.
This is why you should never bow down to bullies. You must stop them from the start. Otherwise they will just keep changing their stories and bully you till the end.
(You can’t give Chinese netizens what they demand, for half of these people are just crazy and sit behind keyboards all day long with nothing better to do. They like to add fuel to the fire and watch the show from the side line.)
The Tzuyu Event shows us that Communist China has not become a better version of itself even after half a century of modernization. What’s worse is now that China is strong enough and the Chinese market desirable enough, they freely antagonize weaker groups to their hearts’ desire, with no regards to freedom, equality, and human rights.
Our world faces many problems, and The Tzuyu Event sheds light on one of the biggest ones we have, The China Problem.