A popular Youtuber in Taiwan known for his videos on humorous flirting advice has lost his access to China after he addressed the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen as “president” in a recent video.
Chen Chia-chin, known by the moniker “Potter King,” on Dec. 14 posted a video on Facebook and Youtube of him trying his pickup lines on Tsai during a visit by the president to his media startup. During the interaction, Chen repeatedly refers to Tsai as “president,” which is in fact her title.
The video went viral, garnering more than 4 million views on Facebook within three days, with most users commenting on how humorous it was.
But Chen’s Chinese talent agency, Papitube, did not see it as a laughing matter. The agency demanded Chen take down the post, not use the word in his videos, canceled his contract, and locked him out of his Weibo account, a Chinese Twitter-like platform, without his permission, Chen wrote in a Facebook post on Dec. 15.
The Chinese regime sees self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland with force if necessary.
“If we can’t even address the head of state of my country as ‘president’, we do not think we want this business,” Chen wrote on Facebook.
Chen added that he rejected the request, which he labeled as “absurd.”
“The monthly loss will be quite significant, but we can’t bring ourselves to kneel down,” he said.
In a series of text message screenshots attached to the post, a representative of Papitube tells Chen’s team: “Are you Taiwan independence activists?”
“This is a very serious problem! We must terminate your contract,” the representative added.
Chen’s team later found out that they couldn’t log into their Weibo account, which had been in operation for several months and has attracted 1.09 million followers. Papitube did not provide them with the new password when asked.
The Chinese agency in a statement on its official Weibo account on Dec. 15 confirmed its contract with Chen had been terminated, adding that it “strongly condemns Potter King’s inappropriate language and actions.”
Mars Lee, CEO of Chen’s media startup Ju Yang New Media International Co., defended its decision to deny Papitude’s demand.
“Taiwan is a free and democracy society. You can like or dislike me as you wish,” Lee told local media on Dec. 16.
In the aftermath of the controversy, Taiwanese media traced Papitube’s links to a Chinese state-owned company China Everbright Group.
Papitube is operated by a famous Chinese Youtuber, 32-year-old Papi Jam. It’s a subsidiary of Mountain Top, a talent agency.
Mountain Top, founded in 2015, received 120 million yuan ($17.15 million) worth of funding from DMG-Everbright Cultural Industrial Fund in April 2017, according to several Chinese media’s reports.
The fund is a partnership between DMG Entertainment And Media Co. and Everbright Financial Holding Asset Management Co.
Everbright Financial Holding is a subsidiary of China Everbright Group, a state-run company that was founded in Hong Kong, and headquartered in Beijing.
In November, a man claiming to be a Chinese spy Wang Liqiang defected to Australia. He accused Hong Kong-based China Innovation Investment Limited (CIIL) of being a front for Chinese communist espionage operations in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Wang claimed that while working for CIIL, he was involved in interference operations to undermine Taiwan’s elections.
Australian investigative journalist Anthony Klan reported on Nov. 27 that CIIL is controlled by China Everbright Group.
After Chen lost his Chinese contract, Tsai and officials from both major political parties came out in his
“Potter King, China terminated your contract, Taiwan has a life-long contract with you,” said Cho Jung-tai, chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, on Dec. 15.