Late last year, JYP Entertainment debuted their latest K-pop act, a nine-member idol girl group known as TWICE. Backed by the hype built over the years when Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu competed on Sixteen along with phenomenal debut hit “Like OHH-AHH,” TWICE became an overnight sensation. Just months after their debut, TWICE accomplished more than what most K-pop idol groups do throughout their entire tenure which includes signing ten exclusive CF contracts. As a matter of fact, many in the K-pop community think that in due time, TWICE will be as popular and powerful as the most dominant K-pop idol girl group today, Girls’ Generation.
Now just three months later, TWICE is once again the talk of the K-pop community. This time however, they are in the midst of controversy. Chinese netizens are attacking TWICE’s maknae (youngest member) Tzuyu. Their reason for their online assault: Tzuyu claimed Taiwanese nationality instead of Chinese.
According to AllKpop, Chinese netizens have found that Tzuyu’s official profile on JYP Entertainment list her nationality as Taiwan instead of China. Chinese netizens were upset at this and went on to argue online through comments, blogs, and social media. Though the situation may sound silly to most international K-pop fans, especially those who identify themselves as ONCE (devoted fans of TWICE), it is often argued, usually with disdain, if Taiwan is a separate country from China. To be frank, Taiwan seems to be set up as an independent country from China given they have their own self-sustaining government, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Chinese.
— Soompi (@soompi) January 14, 2016
JYP Entertainment has since changed all of TWICE’s member profiles to state birthplace instead of nationality, but the damage may already be done. Many within ONCE are doing all they can to find out details about the situation pertaining to Tzuyu, and if what they found proves true, it seems the aftermath from the situation is far worse than what is known among media outlets. Forum members on OneHallyu found that the “witch hunt” against Tzuyu is mostly being headed by Huang An, an older musician (who is ironically Taiwanese) who dedicates his time to outing celebrities from Hong Kong and Taiwan to China. Anyway, he complained to his two million Weibo followers that Tzuyu is a supporter for Taiwanese independence after she appeared on Korean show My Little Television holding a Taiwanese flag. That singular complaint compounded into more in which the following has happened to Tzuyu, TWICE, or JYP Entertainment.
- TWICE recording for Beijing Spring Festival Gala will be edited out.
- TWICE has been uninvited to the An Hui Spring Festival Gala.
- TWICE’s CF deal with LG+Huawei was terminated.
- Kuwo Music (Chinese version of Spotify) removed all songs and videos from JYP Entertainment.
- Kuguo Music (same as Kuwo Music) has removed all songs and videos of TWICE.
- Hunan TV (Chinese channel a lot of K-pop artists appear on) made known they will never invite supporters of Taiwanese independence on their show.
- Chinese netizens want to ban JYP Entertainment from China.
To be frank, the last situation listed is crazy given the fact that JYP Entertainment has many of Chinese descent signed on to their label, including Jia and Fei of miss A, Nichkhun of 2PM, and Jackson of GOT7. And to a lesser extent but just as important, Chinese netizens are also attacking Momo, Sana, and Mina because they are Japanese. To this day, China has a disdaining attitude towards Japan because of what the latter did to the former during World War II.
— The Seoul Story (@theseoulstory) January 14, 2016
Thankfully for Tzuyu, ONCE members around the world are not laying down on the matter. Numerous ONCE fan clubs, especially the prominent TWICE International Fan Club on Facebook, are doing what they can to push the “Tzuyu Protection Squad.” Along with a hashtag supporting Tzuyu (#TzuyuProtectionSquad), ONCE members are actually contacting the correct Taiwanese and Chinese individuals, voicing their concerns to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. ONCE members are doing the same for Momo, Sana, and Mina too (#MomoProtectionSquad, #SanaProtectionSquad, #MinaProtectionSquad).
[Image via Screen Capture of “Like OHH-AHH”]