Taiwan Minister comments over singer's ROC flag row

Deserts Chang (main pic), a Taiwanese singer-songwriter, recently caused an uproar with mainland Chinese students over a Republic of China flag during her concert at the University of Manchester on Saturday, Nov. 2. The argument continued within the blogosphere on Wednesday.

TAIPEI - Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday said if Deserts Chang, a Taiwanese singer-songwriter, cancels her December concert in Beijing over the incident in the United Kingdom, "I will be very sad."

The singer on Tuesday night posted an article on her Facebook page, noting that if the public still cannot understand her sincerity and thoughts after her explanation of the incident, then "I am willing to shoulder the loss of canceling my concert, and I hope this will relieve the stress of whoever is unhappy about this incident."

Chang is scheduled to hold a concert in Beijing in December.

Chang caused an uproar with mainland Chinese students over a Republic of China flag during her concert at the University of Manchester on Nov. 2. The argument continued on the blogosphere on Wednesday.

During an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Wang said it is not necessary for Chang to cancel her performance over the incident, noting that he does not hope Chang will be hurt.

Wang said he had watched a video of the entire incident in the UK, and he thinks what Chang said during her performance was normal. "It is simply a young person hoping more foreigners will know her home country," the minister said, adding that "I will explain her cause to mainland China when I get an opportunity."

Kuomintang Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said he is worried that mainland China will boycott Chang over the incident.

Wu urged Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海基會) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森), who also attended the interpellation, to "protect Chang from being boycotted in China" with the "fastest, and most efficient method."

Wu said the "function" of the MAC and the SEF is not only to protect Taiwanese businessmen in mainland China, but should also protect students, singers and entertainers.

Wang said he will inform Foreign Minister David Lin of the incident.

During the performance, the singer showcased the flag given to her by a Taiwanese student. However, she was stopped by a Chinese student who yelled "no politics tonight," and drew criticism from mainland Chinese members of the audience.

Chang on Tuesday posted articles to her Facebook page explaining the incident. She said she spotted Taiwanese students in the front rows holding the R.O.C. flag and signs bearing her name, noting that she accepted them both and took them up to the stage.

Chang stressed that her act was neither deliberate nor premeditated, and further noted that she tried to explain herself to the audience who stopped her from doing so.

"It's just a flag representing where these students and I are from. And it's not politics ... If you wish to speak, I'm always listening," Chang noted on her Facebook page.