Chinese student outraged over job ad seeking 'Taiwanese' and 'Chinese' students in Korea

Social media standoff between agitated Chinese student and Korean lifestyle website, K-Pal, over Taiwan and Hong Kong

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Jeju Air causes controversy over study abroad flyer. (Image from Flickr)

Jeju Air causes controversy over study abroad flyer. (Image from Flickr)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —  A promotional flyer for Jeju Air, a South Korean budget airline offering discounted airfare and social media for "Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, or Hong Kong people" triggered a negative reaction from one Chinese student that was so strong the company reworded the flyer.

The promotion is a collaboration between Jeju Air, KBS World Radio station, and K-Pal, a lifestyle website aimed at non-Koreans living in South Korea. The flyer advertised an internship-like position with Jeju Air for a student to work as a content creator or social media promoter for the company in exchange for a monthly stipend and other benefits.  

On April 13 a female Chinese student reportedly saw the advertisement posted in an elevator and wrote with a pen on the ad that “Taiwanese and Hong Kongese are Chinese,” according to Apple Daily. She discovered on April 14 that someone added below her remark on the flyer that “There are not only Chinese people in Hong Kong, but other ethnicities as well, like Filipino.”


Initial flyer (Image from social media)


Edited flyer (Image from social media)

The Chinese student wrote once more on the flyer that “Hong Kong is not a country,” and then made an Instagram post directed at K-Pal calling out their “low-level error,” claiming that K-Pal should have instead written “Chinese people (including those from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan)” instead of listing each place as a country. The girl then threatened to alert the Chinese embassy, relevant organizations, and media if K-Pal did not change the wording on the advertisement, according to LibertyTimes.

K-Pal curtly responded to the girl’s threat, stating that referring to “Taiwanese” or “Hong Kongese” in South Korea is a natural turn of phrase and that their choice to use those terms was not political. Moreover, the girl did not have any right to dictate how the company should refer to certain groups of people.

The Chinese girl responded that “part of being Chinese is defending China.”

K-Pal responded a second time that their “choice of words had been obscured” and apologized. K-Pal compromised by changing the name of China to Shandong, although the Taiwan flag remains on the flyer.