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Taiwanese actress’ welcoming comments on Liaoning put her under scrutiny

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by AbRaj, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 30, 2016
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    Taiwanese actress’ welcoming comments on Liaoning put her under scrutiny
    By Zhang Yu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/19 23:55:23

    Taiwanese actress Liu Le-yan poses for a photo shoot. Photo: Courtesy of Liu Le-yan

    It is no longer a strange thing in China for political and entertainment news to mix. The most recent example of this occurred when Taiwanese singer and actress Liu Le-yan, known in Taiwan for her voluptuous figure, made controversial comments on the Chinese mainland's aircraft carrier Liaoning, which passed through the Taiwan Straits last Wednesday.

    When Taiwan media was hyping up the mainland's growing assertiveness in its decision to send the carrier through the Straits after drills in the South China Sea, the 33-year-old Taiwan celebrity, who now lives in Beijing, posted a series of remarks on her Facebook page. She questioned why Taiwanese are so nervous about the aircraft carrier, remarking that "the Liaoning has come to protect us."

    "As long as Taiwanese don't support independence, [theLiaoning] won't attack us. It will protect us," she wrote.:lol:

    Liu's remarks immediately drew the attention of Taiwanese media as well as criticism from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). When asked by the media what he thought of Liu's remarks, DPP legislator Huang Wei-cher said, "I don't know which celebrity said this, but female celebrities shouldn't just be pretty and have a low IQ.":)biggthumpup:true)

    On the mainland, however, Liu received a completely different response from the media, who called her a role model with a "correct worldview." In a piece in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, commentator Wang Ping wrote, "If leaders of Taiwan's pan-Blue coalition [which mainly consists of Kuomintang party members] had the same courage and righteousness as Liu Le-yan, would the Kuomintang be reduced to today's situation and trampled?":haha:

    Despite being at the center of the controversy, Liu insisted that she knows nothing about politics, and had no idea why she had suddenly become the center of a hot debate in political columns. "It's really an interesting experience, but actually, I would much prefer to be featured on FHM," she said, referring to the popular men's magazine.

    Question of identity

    But this isn't the first time the singer/actress has made such bold remarks in an industry that usually refrains from politics. In January 2016, South Korea-based Taiwan pop star Chou Tzu-yu made an apology after mainland Internet users accused her of being a Taiwan independence activist, triggering a backlash in Taiwan. Liu then posted an article on Facebook, talking about the Taiwanese identity.

    Liu wrote about how her grandparents had moved from the mainland to Taiwan in their early years, and how her paternal grandfather, who had been a Kuomintang soldier from Hubei Province, had fought against the invading Japanese army. She wrote that she had always seen herself as both a Taiwanese and a Chinese, and that the two terms shouldn't contradict each other.

    Although the article was sincere and largely recounted her own experience, it sparked criticism from some Taiwanese, who said she was trying to curry favor with the mainland.

    "Although there wasn't an official ban, it became more and more difficult for me to find work in Taiwan," Liu said.

    Last May, seeking a break in her career, she decided to move to Beijing.

    Moving to the mainland

    Taiwan emerged as a major exporter of popular culture to the mainland in the late 1980s, a result of its burgeoning economy and advanced entertainment industry. Television dramas and pop songs from Taiwan, along with those from Hong Kong, virtually dominated the mainland's entertainment scene in the 1990s.

    But the mainland's entertainment industry picked up quickly, and by 2012, its film market had become the second largest in the world, while Taiwan's economy stagnated. Lured by more opportunities, many Taiwanese celebrities started to move to and settle down in the mainland. In recent years, even obscure Taiwanese celebrities began to arrive on the mainland.

    Liu was one of them. Even though she had been in the entertainment industry in Taiwan for over a decade, virtually no one on the mainland knew who she was.

    Unable to afford the high living costs in downtown Beijing, she rents an apartment in Yanjiao, Hebei Province, about an hour's drive from the capital. She takes public transportation, eats in cheap restaurants, and calls herself a beipiao, a "Beijing vagabond."

    Her Taiwanese identity, however, often causes her problems, especially after Taiwanese actor Leon Dai, accused by netizens of supporting Taiwan independence, lost a part in a film. That incident rang alarm bells in the mainland's entertainment industry regarding the use of Taiwanese actors.

    Liu talks about some amusing experiences she has had doing auditions on the mainland. One director forced her to choose between the mainland leader and Tsai Ing-wen to make sure her political stance wouldn't cause him any problems down the line. "I told him that this is meaningless because they will never compete against each other in an election. If I had to pick one, it should be between Tsai Ing-wen and Hung Hsiu-chu, candidate from the Kuomintang. He then forced me to choose between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang. To get the role, I picked the Communist Party," she said.

    On another occasion, a producer told her he had heard that there was an order from authorities not to hire South Korean or Taiwanese actors.

    "How could South Koreans and Taiwanese be lumped together? After all Taiwan is part of China." She called the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and asked whether the ban was true. It turned out that it was, indeed, nothing more than a rumor, but she still didn't get the role.

    Despite these adversities, Liu said she's enjoying her new career in Beijing as there are more opportunities - and more pay - over here than back home.

    Some Taiwanese netizens say Liu is "kneeling in front of the Chinese for Renminbi." Liu replied: "Not only do I kneel, I kowtow to Chinese. I am Chinese. What's wrong with that?"
    Newspaper headline: Celebrity politics

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