A Taiwanese children’s choir has been banned from performing in China after they sang Taiwan’s national anthem during the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen last month.

The Puzangalan Choir, which is comprised of children from the Paiwan indigenous tribe in Taiwan, announced on their Facebook page that their invitation to perform in Guangzhou in July had been cancelled. The choir said that Chinese organisers rescinded the invitation due to “politically sensitive reasons,” reported Stand News.

Puzangalan Choir Taiwan
Puzangalan Choir at Presidential Office Building, Taiwan. Photo: Puzangalan Choir, via Facebook.

Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province, not an independent nation. Tsai had warned Beijing that “suppression” from China would harm cross-strait ties after her landslide win against the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party.

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“This turn of events is somewhat expected,” the choir’s Facebook page announced. “We might as well treat the invitation [to China] as wallpaper. It’s just that the children really do not understand what is happening.”  The Taiwanese singing group originally planned to use the proceeds from the China concert to subsidise an upcoming competition to Hungary.

Tsai Ing-wen
Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: HKFP remix.

Shortly after the cancellation, President Tsai announced on her Facebook page that she would personally donate NT$500,000 (HK$120,034) to support the choir’s trip to Europe. Within the next two days, the choir was able to achieve its funding goal through a crowdfunding campaign.

The Puzangalan Choir was founded in 2008 and has performed in Germany and Japan in the past.

In 2000, China cancelled a concert by Taiwanese singer Chang Hui-mei after she performed the Taiwanese national anthem during the inauguration ceremony of President Chen Shui-bian. Chang was a descendent of the Puyuma indigenous tribe in Taiwan.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.