Taiwanese TV host Dee Hsu and pop star Jolin Tsai have become the latest target of nationalist Chinese online. Their crime? Celebrating Taiwanese athletes in the Olympics.
Hsu addressed Taiwan’s Olympians as “national players” online, while Jolin Tsai had congratulated some of them for their victories.
The posts have been interpreted as support for Taiwan’s independence.
Hsu’s Instagram post was meant to be a joke but the damage had been done.
She had posted about wanting to invite “our national players” to her house.
Hsu has since deleted the comment, but it has not stopped several high-profile brands like Unilever’s haircare brand Clear, sex toy maker Osuga, and soft drink maker Shou Quan Zhai from cutting ties with her,
“National interest is above all, (we) firmly uphold the one China principle,” the drinks company wrote on microblogging platform Weibo.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have soared in recent years.
An increase in military activity in Taiwan over the last few months has caused global concern.
The Chinese government sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will, eventually, be part of the country again.
Many Taiwanese people disagree. They feel they in effect have a separate nation – whether or not independence is ever officially declared.
According to local media, the brand terminations are expected to cost the 43-year-old TV host at least NT$32m (US$1.1m; £825,260).
This was not the only Olympics-related controversy for the embattled TV host – who is one of the most well-known media personalities in the Chinese-speaking world.
Chinese social media users were also outraged when she showed support for Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying after her badminton single’s final against China’s Chen Yufei.
“Despite your defeat I am still proud of you,” she had said on Instagram when Tai took the silver medal after a close match.
Her Instagram and Weibo pages have since been inundated with angry comments from Chinese users, with many calling her a “traitor”.
“If you’re going to support Taiwan independence, don’t ever come to mainland China to make money again. You can’t have both,” one Weibo user said.
Meanwhile, pop star Tsai was condemned for not publicly showing support for China’s athletes along with her posts on Taiwanese Olympians.
“Don’t kowtow to Chinese renminbi anymore, you’re despicable,” a Weibo comment read.