Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, in response to Taiwanese singer-songwriter Deserts Chang’s (張懸) announcement that she has canceled her Beijing concert over a row over the national flag, accused Beijing of oppression, while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers criticized the government was too spineless to stand up to China.
Chang’s agent, Tsai Yu-ching (蔡玉青), wrote on the singer’s Facebook page on Thursday that Chang had decided to cancel a concert in Beijing scheduled for Dec. 30 following a row over her display of a Republic of China flag at a concert early this month in Manchester, England.
Chang waved the flag on stage at a concert at the University of Manchester and introduced it as her country’s flag, a comment that immediately drew angry responses from Chinese nationals in the audience.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) questioned China’s stance by asking: “Why should we be evasive and circumspect when holding up our national flag?”
“China must understand the pragmatic situation that there exists two effective ruling governments across the Taiwan Strait. Only in this way can cross-strait exchanges proceed in the future. If China does not accept the reality of our government’s existence, then it will hinder any further dialogue and exchanges,” Ting said.
KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) added that as China tries to bully Taiwan in the political arena, it will only result in more Taiwanese despising the Chinese government.
DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said that the incident would make Taiwanese stop and think.
“People will think about the lack of freedom of expression and the lack of human rights protection in China, as well as the restrictive watchdog system in place there to curb freedom of thought,” Cheng said.
Cheng then accused the Ma administration of shirking its responsibility.
“It [the government] acts as if the whole thing is of no concern. This government always submits to the conditions and restrictions set down by China on cultural exchanges and now it can’t even assure our people’s cultural performances in China,” she said.
People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) accused the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of being spineless and cowardly in its response.
“On this Desserts Chang incident, the council is again afraid to stand up,” she said.
Chen Yi-chieh was referring to a comment made by MAC spokeswoman Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) on Thursday when she said that she regretted the cancelation of the concert, but that she respected the decision made by Chang and the organizers, who had canceled the show in consideration of performance quality, and the rights and safety of concertgoers.
The council has communicated with China on the issue over the past weeks and expressed the hope that people on both sides could learn to respect their differences, she added.
Meanwhile, some fans in China were actually disappointed over the news, telling the Central News Agency that Beijing was not wise to involve politics in music.
“Chang should come to Shanghai. If that concert is also canceled, I will gather my friends to travel to Taiwan to see her,” said Qian Kun, a fan living in Shanghai.
Qian said many young people in China think independently, are not “brainwashed by the government” and are taught to respect and listen to different opinions.