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New S.H.E. song spurs controversy

New S.H.E. song spurs controversy

"It's no big deal. It's just a song."
That's the how the record company of a popular Taiwanese female pop group, S.H.E., responded to criticisms of the group's newest hit song, "Zhong Guo Hua," which in Mandarin literally means "the language of China."
The song, written by two Chinese song writers, along with the music video, which was shot entirely in China, has spurred mixed reactions among music lovers in Taiwan.
While some have praised the ingenuity of using traditional Chinese tongue twisters to rap, others have accused the group of brownnosing with lyrics like, "how smart are the Chinese people and how beautiful is the language of China."
"It is absolutely disgusting to see three Taiwanese women tossing patriotism out the window just for a few lousy bucks," one blogger stated.
"If an American were to write a song praising the English language, would be it necessary to call it the language of England?" one blogger asked.
When asked why the song writer chose to call Mandarin "the language of China," instead of "putong hua" as it is commonly called in China, especially in light of the fact that there are over 10 different languages spoken on the mainland, the record company said, "the enunciation of the phrase 'putong hua' simply did not fit the melody."
"It really is not a big deal and the song should be taken purely as entertainment," said S.H.E. promotional manager Liu Han-yu, adding that the issue was being blown out of proportion.
S.H.E. fans also defended the group, saying that the detractors were "no different from the Red Guards in the Chinese Cultural Revolution" who bludgeoned artists "for betraying their roots."
Local artists trying to break into a wider market sometimes get caught in the currents that characterize cross-strait issues. While S.H.E.'s new song has been interpreted by some as a betrayal of Taiwan culture, it has been the case that Taiwanese celebrities who express strong Taiwan-centric sentiments are not welcomed in China, which has become the biggest market for Mandarin-speaking musicians.
Aboriginal singer Amei was banned from China for almost four years after she sang the Republic of China anthem at the 2000 inauguration of President Chen Shi-bian. The ban on Amei has deterred many local singers and groups from performing at any government-related events for fear that they too might be shut out of the Chinese market.


Updated : 2021-05-16 12:14 GMT+08:00