Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: China axing show makes no sense

China’s continued harassment of Taiwan took a strange turn on Sunday, when it canceled broadcasts of Taiwanese show My Dear Boy (我的男孩) after a netizen alleged that it was sponsored by a “Taiwanese independence” organization, and that airing it let the “forces of Taiwanese independence run rampant.”

That “Taiwanese independence” organization is the Ministry of Culture.

That a mere online comment can lead to a television station pulling a show is ridiculous and might lead to more rampant “whistle-blowing” by those who have issues with other TV programs or those who just want to antagonize Taiwan.

The rationale makes no sense — the show itself is said to be an urban love story with no political undertones. Are all government-supported projects to be banned in China? Of course not. So the purpose of this move is questionable.

There are reports that it was a move by a Taiwanese who had a dispute with Taiwanese singer and actress Ruby Lin (林心如) and not a decision made by the Chinese government.

However, it is unsettling how easy it is to get a production pulled just by invoking the words “Taiwanese independence.”

This explanation makes more sense, because Chinese authorities do not benefit from a move like this, as evidenced by the incident involving Taiwanese K-pop star Chou Tzu-yu (周子瑜) right before the 2016 presidential and legislative elections, which reportedly made more people vote against China’s wishes.

Airspace intrusion and undermining of international stature are one thing, but it would be more beneficial to China to promote, not undermine, cultural exchanges with Taiwan. Something as pointless as this just makes China look crazy and bolsters Taiwanese nationalism and anti-Chinese sentiment.

The Taipei Times on Sunday ran a report that missions by China’s People’s Liberation Army near Taiwan are aimed at altering the nation’s public opinion and creating panic. Maybe this incident is just a ploy to distract or confuse people, but historically, continuing such actions only leads to increased Taiwanese distrust toward China.

Lin is a veteran actress who has been active in China for more than a decade. If this can happen to her, then nobody is safe, which runs against China’s aim of luring more Taiwanese to work in China.

What implications could this have for people trying to receive assistance from the ministry or other organizations?

There have already been reports of filmmakers having trouble getting funding, because their work would not be popular in China.

Even Hollywood is bending over backward to please its Chinese fan base.

My Dear Boy is supposed to be a love story with little to no political implications — what happens when someone wants to make something a bit more controversial?

Finally, people should give Lin a break regarding her comment that she does not and never has supported Taiwanese independence. More than 400,000 Taiwanese work in China, and they would likely say the same thing if asked their opinion on Taiwanese independence. People do not want to lose their job or jeopardize their safety for political ideals.

Not everyone supports Taiwanese independence. The beauty of a free society is that people can say and believe what they want. If Taiwanese condemn others for disagreeing with Taiwanese independence, how is that different from China?

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