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Taiwanese President Responds to Forced Political Statements by Taiwanese Artists in China

{Below is a partial translation of an article by Voice of America (VOA) regarding a statement by Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on the CCP’s coercion of artists into supporting unification of Taiwan with mainland China.}

After Taiwan’s newly elected President Lai Ching-te spoke about “mutual non-subordination across the Taiwan Strait” in his inauguration speech, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched an exercise in military harassment. It also organized a round of propaganda campaigning, forcing Taiwanese artists to express on Chinese social media site Weibo that they support the CCP’s unification of Taiwan with mainland China and oppose Taiwanese independence. Many Taiwanese celebrities who are developing their careers in mainland China had to post content such as “Taiwan independence is a dead end” and “Taiwan will inevitably return (to the mainland).” Those who did not make such posts in time were named and shamed by the “fifty-cent army” or the Chinese public, facing the threat of the “iron fist of socialism.”

Facing this situation, Lai Ching-te made a rare public statement. He said that this was not the first time, and would likely not be the last time, that Taiwanese cultural workers have been forced to make political statements in China. He said that every time Taiwanese cultural workers face pressure under another’s roof, he feels very distressed. He expressed his hopes that the Taiwanese public would understand that what these cultural workers say under such circumstances is one thing and what they (really) think in their hearts is another thing. He said what they feel in their hearts is more important; they should be given understanding and empathy.

Lai Ching-te’s speech garnered praise from many mainland Chinese netizens who bypassed the firewall on the X platform and commented in simplified Chinese. Some said that the Taiwanese president’s statement immediately made them into fans, and some noted the stark contrast between democracy and autocracy. Some remarked that the current Taiwanese government not only has a high Emotional Quotient (EQ) but also high Intelligence Quotient (IQ), making Beijing’s actions look petty in comparison. Some even praised Lai Ching-te’s move as a masterstroke, leaving the CCP unable to respond.

Source: VOA, May 26, 2024