Critical comments on the Weibo of Taiwanese singer-songwriter Deserts Chang (張懸) may be part of an organized effort to attack the performer after she stirred up controversy by displaying the Republic of China (ROC) flag at a UK concert, some Chinese netizens wrote.
One user of the social media site, Sina Weibo, with the screenname “Anshi Ruanjian 17” wrote on Thursday that the criticisms are part of a campaign by China’s “50 cent party,” a colloquial term for Web users allegedly paid 0.5 Chinese yuan (US$0.08) per online post of government-directed propaganda.
In an interview with reporters, Anshi Ruanjian, 17, a Hebei native, said that Chinese authorities have accessed Sina Weibo’s administrative system to make negative and emotional replies on Chang’s page show up first.
CNA verified the claim by leaving a positive reply on Chang’s Weibo, which showed up at the very bottom of all comments, whereas the newest reply to a post should be displayed first.
Sina Weibo declined a request for comment.
News reports have indicated that Chang’s upcoming Beijing concert could be canceled by authorities miffed over the flag incident, a move that Wong Nguk-chung, head of an entertainment association in Hong Kong and Macau, said would be going “overboard.”
Wong admitted that entertainers from Hong Kong and Taiwan need to be careful when it comes to political issues in front of a Chinese audience, but said that Chang’s concert took place in a neutral location outside of China.
Beijing has shown more flexibility when it comes to entertainers with political stances in recent years, he said, though it is difficult to guess how ordinary citizens will react.
The incident unfolded on Nov. 2, when Chang angered Chinese audience members at a University of Manchester concert by displaying an ROC flag given to her by Taiwanese students among the crowd, referring to it in English as her country’s national flag.
Heckled by angry students, Chang said the flag “represents where these students and I are from” and her display of it was “not politics.”
A video of her response has gone viral on Facebook and Weibo and stirred sentiment over the ever-sensitive issue of Taiwan-China relations.
“I truly hope that someday, in somewhere, at some places and to anybody, we can always talk about anything to each other and we can always listen,” the singer later wrote in English on her Weibo.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung