Another Taiwanese celebrity has been embroiled in a controversy over Taiwanese identity after being filmed apparently saying “We’re all Chinese people”. It came just days after 16-year-old Taiwanese star Chou Tzu-yu was forced to apologise for holding the Republic of China flag on South Korean TV.

Show Luo, a Taiwanese singer, dancer and actor, had been attending last Thursday’s Beijing premiere of a movie in which he starred, Apple Daily reported. When asked by the audience how he felt collaborating with different stars from mainland China, Luo said, “There’s no need for such a division, we’re all Chinese,” prompting loud applause from the audience.

show luo
Show Luo. Photo: Wikicommons.

The video was posted onto a Facebook group named Against Show Luo Fans. Although the clip is of low resolution, and could not be independently verified, other clips on Chinese websites showed him at the same event wearing a similar outfit.

The Facebook post also said that “after Luo says he is Chinese, state media reported on the incident and Chinese netizens praised Luo for being one of the few Taiwanese stars who would admit they were Chinese; they also called him a positive force.”

YouTube video

The Taiwanese fans, however, were not as impressed. Luo’s official Facebook page was flooded with comments such as “Chinese dancer hurry back to China”, “I’m very angry that you – as a Taiwanese aborigine – made those comments” and “Please change your nationality to Mainland Chinese… Taiwan does not welcome Chinese pigs” – a nod to Show’s nickname, Little Pig.

Luo is also rapidly losing fans on his page. A screenshot shows that Luo’s page had 2,409,368 likes at around 2am, but as of 10:50am on Monday the number was down to 2,384,450.

16-year-old star forced to apologise

The posting of the video with Show’s remarks came after another incident involving Taiwanese identity on Friday. Chou Tzu-yu, a 16-year-old Taiwanese artist, was forced to apologise for holding the Taiwanese flag at a show on South Korean TV. She was attacked by Chinese netizens and accused of being a “Taiwan separatist” by Huang An, another Taiwanese artist now resident in mainland China.

Chou Tzu-yu
File photo: Chou Tzu-yu

After mounting pressure from some mainland Chinese netizens and her Korean agency, JYP Entertainment, she released a video apologising for her “hurtful conduct”, and claiming she was “proud to be Chinese”.

The incident dominated Saturday’s presidential and legislative election. Eric Chu Li-lun, presidential candidate from the historically pro-unification Kuomintang, claimed “it is just cruel to treat a 16-year-old girl like this. Welcome home, Chou Tzu-yu”.

Freddy Lim Chang-zuo, legislative candidate from the New Power Party established after the 2014 Sunflower Movement, called upon voters to “stand up like a Taiwanese” and “fight for the pride of the Taiwanese people”.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement reading: “The Republic of China is an independent sovereign state, and the national flag is a symbol of sovereignty. The ministry will defend its sovereignty in full force.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.