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(LEAD) Multicultural group to lodge complaint over idol's apology

All News 17:07 January 18, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 11 through 13)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- A private multicultural organization said Monday it will file a complaint later this week with the national human rights watchdog against an entertainment agency chief who reportedly forced a 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer to apologize for waving the island's flag.

The Center for Multicultural Korea (CMCK) in Seoul denounced Park Jin-young, chief of JYP Entertainment, for allegedly forcing the young girl to make the apology, which it calls a "serious racial discrimination and human rights infringement."

K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu, a member of the South Korean girl group TWICE managed by JYP, waved Taiwan's national flag on a South Korean entertainment TV program in November. This incident has been thrown into a political row between Taiwan and mainland China.

The center said in a statement that a "16-year-old girl waving the national flag of her own country is very natural, but Park Jin-young forced her to make an apology under pressure from Chinese netizens."

"We will ask the National Human Rights Commission of Korea to investigate whether the apology was forced or not," it said, adding that it will bring the case to the prosecution if the apology was found to be coerced.

"This kind of incident can take place anytime in entertainment agencies which are blind to commercial interests and ignorant of multicultural and human rights," the center said.

In the past two months, anger among Chinese SNS users over the flag incident forced JYP chief Park Jin-young to offer an apology to Chinese fans and Tzuyu to stop all of her current activities in China.

"Through this incident, I have once again deeply experienced that, to partner with a nation, there is a need to respect that nation's sovereignty, culture, history, and the people's emotions, " Park said.

"In the future, we will firmly put an end to having this kind of incident occur," Park said in a recent apology that appeared on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.

In an apparent move to calm controversy, Tzuyu finally came forward and expressed her own personal apology.

"I extended my apology belatedly as I did not know how to handle this situation," she said.

Responding to Tzuyu's apology, JYP Entertainment said later on Monday that it was not forced, but was made in consultation with her parents from the beginning.

"As Tzuyu is a minor, we waited for her parents to come to Korea so that we were able to make a final conclusion to the matter," JYP Entertainment said in a statement.

It also said, "A person's beliefs cannot be forced under any circumstances. Her parents expressed their wishes that the situation would ease and that their daughter can sing and dance again."

Meanwhile, Park on Monday denied a news report that a Taiwanese business offered to take an exclusive contract for Tzuyu from JYP Entertainment.

A source at the entertainment agency said they have never received an offer for an exclusive contract from a Taiwanese magazine company at the price of 3.6 billion won (US$3 million).

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