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China-based Taiwanese singer deletes online messages after flag row

All Headlines 17:34 January 20, 2016

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- A China-based Taiwanese singer, who sparked a row by criticizing a 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer for waving a Taiwanese flag, has deleted all messages on his Weibo account, according to Hong Kong and Taiwanese media on Wednesday.

The K-pop singer, Chou Tzu-yu, waved Taiwan's national flag on a South Korean entertainment TV program in November. The image of Chou, a member of the South Korean girl band TWICE, sparked a row in mainland China last week after singer Huang An reportedly accused Chou of supporting Taiwanese independence.

The issue has attracted intense media attention in both Taiwan and China at a time when Tsai Ing-won of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, which wants independence from China, was just elected the island's first female president.

About 4,900 messages and photos posted by Huang on his Weibo account were deleted, according to Hong Kong and Taiwanese media reports.

In Taiwan, a street rally against Huang had been set for Sunday, but was canceled because it could be politically exploited or pose a negative impact on Chou, Taiwanese media reported.

In apparent fear that the issue could fan nationalistic sentiment in mainland China, Chou's South Korean management agency, JYP Entertainment, apologized and suspended Chou's activities.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. China's ruling Communist Party claims sovereignty over Taiwan, but the landslide victory of Tsai Ing-won shows that many Taiwanese people support the island's democracy.
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