Taiwan’s government on Wednesday accused China of exerting pressure on Malaysian technology event organizers to block a Taiwanese beauty queen from waving the self-ruled island’s national flag onstage.
The incident happened during the World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT) opening ceremony, which featured contestants from the Miss Asia Global Pageant greeting attendees in their native language and waving their national flags onstage.
Taoyuan Department of Information Technology director-general Karen Yu said that Miss Taiwan, Kao Man-jung, was stopped by WCIT event handlers just as she was ready to go onstage.
In a video posted by Yu on Facebook, Kao was seen crying after being instructed by event organizers to stay in the audience.
Yu said that Taiwanese delegates chanted “Taiwan Go” to make attendees aware of Kao’s presence at the event.
WCIT organizers apologized to Kao and said that they were told not to let her go onstage at the last minute, according to Yu. They did not specify why the last-minute change, but Yu said “the reasons are well known to everyone.”
“China’s unreasonable suppression is unbearable for democratic countries, and we still have a long way to go. We must continue to work hard with our friends in democratic countries,” Yu stated.
China’s Suppression ‘Disgust’ Taiwanese
Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry later issued a statement condemning China for meddling in the event and urged its representative office in Malaysia to lodge a complaint against the event organizers.
“China pressured the Malaysian organizers to forbid Miss Kao from waving our national flag onstage,” it said, adding that China’s suppression “will only disgust Taiwanese people and the international community.”
The ministry expressed its support for Kao and urged other Taiwanese to speak out for their island nation in the international arena through their own expertise.
“Taiwan, the Republic of China, is a sovereign and independent democratic country, and the people of Taiwan have the right to display their own country’s flag in the international arena,” it added.
Organizers Obliged to One China Policy
Sean Seah, the organizing chairman of WCIT, said the decision to ban Kao from waving Taiwan’s national flag at the event was made because Malaysia “strictly follows” the One China policy, which recognizes Taiwan as part of China.
Seah said that WCIT must honor Malaysia’s pledge to China as it was a national event. Malaysia struck an agreement with the Chinese regime in 1974 stating that the country recognizes there is only one China.
“Running a global event like this, we are bound by guidelines. We are unable to take any position on this,” Seah told local media Free Malaysia Today.
The WCIT was held in the Malaysian state of Penang and will run until Sept. 17, involving thousands of delegates from 60 countries.
China views Taiwan as a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland. The Chinese Communist regime began its largest military drills near Taiwan in August following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.