TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Wednesday (Sept. 14) slammed a Malaysian tech event for banning a Taiwanese beauty queen from taking the stage after apparent pressure from China.
On Tuesday (Sept. 13), Taiwanese beauty queen Kao Man-jung (高曼容, Maggie Kao), prepared to join fellow Miss Asia Global Pageant contestants taking the stage at the opening of the 2022 World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT), which was held in Penang, Malaysia. However, before she was able to walk onto the stage, Kao was suddenly held back by the organization's handlers, causing her to become visibly upset and burst into tears.
WCIT staffer (second from left) stops Kao, who is holding a Taiwan flag, from stepping onto stage. (CNA photo)
While Kao was forced to stay in the audience, the rest of the contestants were able to wave the flags of their countries for a huge group photo. Video of the incident released by Karen Yu (余宛如), former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator and current director of Taoyuan City's Department of Information Technology, quickly went viral with 76,000 views.
On Wednesday, MOFA issued a statement in which it blamed pressure from China for stopping Kao from walking on stage. The ministry condemned China's "tyrannical and arrogant actions that suppress Taiwanese people and non-governmental activities in the international arena."
Kao (rear center) cries after being denied entry to stage. (Facebook, Karen Yu screenshot)
It expressed "great dissatisfaction and regret" over the "flawed decision" made by the organizer in "succumbing to China's threats." The ministry instructed its representative office in Malaysia to file a stern protest to the organizers.
MOFA emphasized that "Taiwan, the Republic of China, is a sovereign and independent democratic country." It added that the people of Taiwan have the right to display their own country's flag and identify with their own country in the international arena.
Kao (center) being consoled after being denied entry to stage. (CNA photo)
"China's brutal suppression will only make Taiwanese people and the international community even more disgusted," wrote MOFA. The ministry then expressed its support for Kao and encouraged other Taiwanese to continue to speak for Taiwan in the international arena through personal expertise, express their identification with their own country, and "demonstrate the power of goodness in Taiwan."
All contestants wave the flag of their home country with the exception of Kao. (CNA photo)
Kao wears ribbon emblazoned with word "Taiwan." (Facebook, Kao Man-ju photo)
Video showing Kao being denied entry to stage. (Facebook video)