Rappers in Taiwan and China are among the combatants squaring off in cyberspace after a landslide election win for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) fanned Beijing’s fears that it could renew a push for sovereignty.
President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she wants to maintain the “status quo” and peace with China, but that has not deterred Chinese Internet users from airing critical views on social media Web sites such as Facebook, provoking sharp responses in Taiwan.
“There’s only one China, HK, Taipei, they are my fellas,” run the opening strains of a song by Tianfu Shibian (天府事變), a rap group based in Chengdu, China.
On its microblog, the group claims more than 7 million views for the music video of its song, The Power of Red, which uses patriotic images laced with profanity to pour scorn on Tsai, the DPP and its independence notions.
The song targets Taiwanese and foreigners unfamiliar with the complexities of Taiwan-China politics, aiming to dispel “misunderstandings,” said Wang Zixin (王梓鑫), the group’s leader.
“They just think us Chinese, or the mainland, are always bullying them,” he said. “Through the song lyrics we want to say China is a peace-loving country, but we aren’t chickens.”
The video can also be viewed on YouTube.
In Taipei, prominent rapper Dwagie (大支), who backs the DPP, often raps in Hokklo (also known as Taiwanese) to spotlight Taiwan’s individuality, rather than using Mandarin.
Chinese performers of songs such as The Force of Red should look to tackle the country’s many social problems, from children’s education to medical services for remote areas, before worrying about Taiwan, Dwagie said.
“I want to know what the people who write these songs, and the netizens, are really thinking, deep down,” he said. “Is there really nothing more important than whether this island belongs to you, or if Taiwan is independent or not?”
Thousands of posts flooded Tsai’s Facebook page after her election win, demanding that Taiwan be brought under China’s control.
China’s Internet users were just “exercising their freedom of speech,” DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍) said. “We don’t know if all more than 1 billion Chinese people can access the Internet and log on to Facebook, or if it is just a specific group of netizens that can access Facebook and browse Taiwan’s Web, but naturally we hope the former is the case.”
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