Beijing has required that performing artists from Taiwan and Hong Kong sign an agreement to only engage in “politically correct” speech for 10 years, a source said yesterday.
Beijing had previously required Taiwanese artists to refer to Taiwan as part of China and themselves as “Chinese,” but this is the first time they have put a minimum time frame on such expressions, the source said.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) on Thursday last week said that rumors about the policy were inaccurate, but then added: “We will not allow a small number of people to make money in the mainland while supporting Taiwanese independence at the same time.”
“We hope that cross-strait exchanges in the television and film industry will not be contaminated by Taiwanese separatists,” she added.
The policy has since been confirmed to be in effect, the source said, adding that the Chinese government has not approached the artists directly, but is having the stations or online platforms that hire them make them sign the agreements.
Those who do not sign the agreements cannot be employed, while employers of those who breach the agreement after signing would be required to terminate employment and pay a fine, the source said.
Government officials have expressed concern that China is becoming more aggressive in pushing its ideological stance on Taiwanese working or studying there, and that risks are increasing for young Taiwanese in China due to Beijing’s suppression of their freedom of expression, the source said.
The Mainland Affairs Council has seen reports on the artists’ agreement, but has not yet seen the content of it, council deputy minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺) told a routine news conference last week.
If true, the agreement demonstrates the difference between the creative environments in Taiwan and China, he said.
While Taiwan provides a free environment for artists, China frequently requires them to toe the party line, which is not beneficial to the development of the creative arts, Chen said.
The council implores Beijing to give performers and artists a free environment for expression, he added.
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