China’s entertainment industry has been going through an overhaul, and regulatory bodies are busy “cancelling” celebrities whom they feel are not good role models for society or embody sentiment unsupported by authorities. Taiwanese actress, Janine Chang (張鈞甯), is said to be on the cusp of being blacklisted in China, due to her suspected pro-Taiwan independence.
Netizens Dig Up “Evidence” of Janine’s Pro-Independence Beliefs
For her Master’s degree in Industrial Economics at Taiwan’s National Central University, the actress had titled her thesis, “The Financial Management and Legal Problems of My Country’s Artistes,” which seemed to refer to Taiwan as its own independent country which has always been a sensitive topic in China. Although Janine had written her thesis paper in 2010, Chinese netizens dug up the issue due to the recent rise of nationalism.
In one of Janine’s earlier interviews, she had also shared with a Taiwanese director that she wants to stay in Taiwan to film, and hopes that she will have more opportunities to do so.
Netizens took this to mean that Janine supports Taiwan’s independence and does not view herself as Chinese, despite the actress generating a majority of her income from the Chinese market.
Janine’s Name Removed from Upcoming Projects
Since the controversy surfaced, Janine’s name has since disappeared from the cast list in The Psychologist <女心理師>, which stars Yang Zi (楊紫) and Boran Jing (井柏然). The Chinese drama was originally slated to air in October/ November, but is likely to be delayed now the crew is scrambling to minimize the negative publicity.
A netizen exposed that Chinese authorities also ordered Janine’s screen time, which spans six episodes, to be deleted in The Psychologist. As well, the drama’s official social media account has erased posts related to Janine.
With three of Janine’s movies awaiting release, including Eight-Year-Old Father <八歲的爸爸>, Love After Love <第一爐香>, 749 Bureau <749局>, the film production companies are likely to cut ties with the actress. Her controversy may even cause these movies to be unable to be released.
Janine Responds to Controversy
As the controversy escalated, the actress’ studio issued an official statement, “Ms. Janine Chang is not a fighter for Taiwanese independence. She has always firmly believed that she is Chinese, and will not allow any people to take advantage of her and create conflict!”
On September 6, Janine finally spoke out, posting on her Weibo. “In my acting career, I have encountered many teachers and colleagues that I respect. I am passionate about acting and view this as my career. People from both Taiwan and China belong to Chinese ethnicity. I am not fighting for the independence of Taiwan– 5,000 years of Chinese civilization have allowed us to learn what it means to live as upstanding citizens.”
Despite Janine’s clarification, Chinese netizens are not convinced and the damage on her career may already be done. The actress continued her scheduled work activities in China, and was spotted at the airport on September 7 looking more tired than usual.
This article was revised on September 8, 2021 to more accurately reflect Janine’s quote that “People from both Taiwan and China belong to Chinese ethnicity.”
This article is written by Kiki for Jaynestars.com.