Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 2 News List

S.H.E defend hit song `Mandarin'

STAFF WRITER, WITH AP , TAIPEI

A member of pop group S.H.E said yesterday its latest song praising Mandarin Chinese as a language "to which the world listens" has been twisted to imply an allegiance for China.

The song, titled Mandarin (中國話), has been criticized by many Taiwanese on Web sites as an attempt to cater to the interests of China.

"We welcome the heated debate generated by the song but also regret that it has somehow been used as a political tool," said Ella, a singer in the pop group.

The comment came after HIM International Music, the group's record label, barred reporters from the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) from covering a S.H.E radio appearance on Friday because of its reports on the song.

"People of all colors of skin are starting to learn Mandarin Chinese," S.H.E members Selina, Hebe and Ella sing in the song. "After years of struggling with the English pronunciation and grammar, now it's their turn to roll up their tongues to learn Mandarin."

"The world is seriously listening," they sing.

A fan identified as "myidhiho" wrote on Kimo.com: "The record label apparently wanted to make money ... from the newly rich Chinese."

Another Web user said the songwriter had bragged about Mandarin's influence.

"If it was really so great, why would China ask its citizens to study English ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics? It's such disrespect for Mandarin," a user called "Freeman" wrote on Kimo.com.

Taiwanese pop stars are often caught in political squabbles with China.

Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹) was banned from performing in China after Beijing accused her of being sympathetic to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) after singing the national anthem at his inauguration.

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