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China dismisses aides as dispute grows over Taiwan singer

The recent election victory of Taiwan’s opposition party candidate Tsai Ying-wen has been overshadowed by controversy.

By Elizabeth Shim
China dismisses aides as dispute grows over Taiwan singer
China dismissed two aides in charge of cross-strait relations in the wake of a recent landslide election in Taiwan. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- China dismissed two aides in charge of cross-strait relations in the wake of a landslide election in Taiwan – as controversy grew over a Taiwanese member of a South Korean pop group forced to issue a public apology for displaying a Taiwanese flag on Korean television.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communist Party stated on its website Tuesday two officials from separate Taiwan affairs bureaus were under investigation for "severe violation of discipline," South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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Beijing did not go into the specifics of their alleged violations, but the charges could be related to bribery or corruption. One of the suspects, identified as Dai, was the deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office in the Chinese province of Fujian. Hong Kong press reported Dai worked with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader's term in Fujian Province.

Under Xi, China launched a crackdown on corruption that is not only national but global in scope.

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Last September, the United States cooperated with Chinese officials to extradite a fugitive, wanted for laundering $485 million from a state-owned bank seven years ago.

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The recent election victory of Taiwan's opposition party candidate Tsai Ying-wen also has been overshadowed by a controversy involving a Taiwan flag-waving member of a Korean girl group.

Chou Tzuyu, 16, apologized for waving the Taiwan flag, and said, "There's only one China. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one. I will always consider myself as a Chinese person and feel proud of this."

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Chou has been at the center of a growing dispute among Taiwan, China, and South Korean company JYP Entertainment, the agency that employs Chou and responsible for her staged apology that went viral last Friday.

South Korean television network SBS reported an activist in Taiwan has condemned JYP for the apology, calling it a human rights violation. The debate grew when a pro-Beijing Taiwanese singer, dubbed the "Independence Buster," was banned on a Taiwanese radio station after he released screenshots of conversations between JYP staff and a Chinese entertainment agent who said the girl group, Twice, was being banned from performing in China.

The BBC reported Tuesday JYP's website had been hacked and has been inaccessible since Saturday.

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The cyberattack comes after many people in Taiwan said Chou's apology was "humiliating" for them.

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