On Wednesday (September 14), Taipei accused China of exerting pressure on the organizers of a trade event in Malaysia to prevent a Taiwanese beauty queen from waving the island’s flag on stage during the event.
According to the authorities in Taiwan, Miss Taiwan Kao Man-jung was photographed crying as other contestants in a beauty pageant appeared on stage during the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT) on Tuesday. The WCIT is an acronym for the World Congress on Innovation and Technology.
“China exerted pressure on the Malaysian organizers to ban Miss Kao from holding our national flag on stage,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said, adding that it had instructed its representative office in Malaysia to lodge a formal complaint with the Malaysian organizers. Taiwan’s foreign ministry also said that it had instructed its representative office in Malaysia to hold a protest against the Malaysian organizers.
Beijing considers the democratic island with its own self-rule to be a part of its territory, which it will one day seize by force if necessary.
It takes offense to any international acknowledgment of Taiwan and frequently displays its ire when its flag is shown at international events or by celebrities from other countries.
A similar repression, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “would only offend Taiwanese people and the international community even more,” and Beijing was accused of carrying out “vile activities.”
According to reports from the media in Taiwan, Kao was stopped right before she was set to go on stage, while other participants were seen waving the flags of their respective countries.
The AFP has asked the WCIT for a response on the matter.
The display of Taiwan’s flag by celebrities, such as the American pop artists Madonna and Katy Perry, has in the past drawn the ire of the Chinese government. Beijing interprets this behavior as a sign of support for Taiwan’s independence from China.
A teen Taiwanese K-pop singer was compelled to apologize in 2016 after waving the flag during an internet broadcast, which fueled fury in China and led to charges that she was an advocate for Taiwan’s independence.
On the day of Taiwan’s presidential elections in 2016, her video apology went viral, and the island ended up electing Tsai Ing-wen as its first female leader in a landslide victory. Her victory marked the first time Taiwan has ever had a female leader.
After her victory, China cut off all contacts with Taiwan and increased the amount of pressure exerted by its military on the island because Taiwan’s government does not recognize the island as a part of China.