Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Sun Yat-sen School pushes back at China over independence accusation

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Actress Ruby Lin, left, and actor Derek Chang of the drama series My Dear Boy pose at a publicity event in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of GTV

A traditionally China-friendly organization affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged Beijing to refrain from labeling Taiwanese as pro-independence without concrete evidence, after a Taiwanese actress’ television show was pulled over allegations that she supports Taiwanese independence.

“The incident over Taiwanese singer and actress Ruby Lin (林心如) is unfortunate and the result of misunderstandings,” Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) told a morning news conference in Taipei.

Chang, a political science professor at National Chengchi University, said the incident underscores a high level of hostility across the Taiwan Strait.

He also called on Beijing to rationally handle private cross-strait interactions, as “cultural exchange is the lifeline of cross-strait interactions.”

Lin rose to fame in Taiwan and China after starring in the three-season TV drama My Fair Princess (還珠格格), which was produced by Taiwanese and Chinese firms and aired in 1998.

Her new show, My Dear Boy (我的男孩), premiered in Taiwan last month and was on Sunday pulled by Chinese authorities after airing only two episodes on Tencent Holding Ltd’s (騰訊) online video platform.

The Ministry of Culture in 2016 granted a producer of the show a NT$20 million (US$677,140) subsidy, which prompted some Chinese netizens to accuse the show of being funded by “pro-independence forces” and label Lin as a supporter of Taiwanese independence, the Central News Agency said.

Lin’s office later on Sunday published a statement refuting the accusation, saying that the 42-year-old actress has never said or done anything in support of Taiwanese independence and would never do so.

It also said that the subsidy was received by Gala Television Corp (八大電視), one of the show’s producers, and that many TV series receive ministry subsidies.

School decisionmaking committee member Chiu Yi (邱毅), a former KMT lawmaker, said that although he respected Chinese consumers’ and authorities’ longtime practice of boycotting pro-independence businesses and celebrities, it should be carried out in accordance with the principle of not wronging the innocent.

“There is no direct evidence suggesting that Lin deserves the pro-independence label. She did not join the 2014 Sunflower movement, nor has she ever used any independence-leaning rhetoric,” Chiu said.

Equating ministry subsidies to support of independence reeks of McCarthyism, Chiu said, adding that doing so would not only hurt people’s feelings, but would also run counter to the spirit of China’s oft-stated phrase that “both sides belong to the same family.”

The school was established in accordance with a resolution reached by the KMT’s Central Standing Committee in November 2016, as part of the party’s reform plans following its defeat in the presidential election in January that year.

However, the school is not funded by the KMT, nor does it fall under the party’s structure.

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