TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A British pianist involved in a dispute with Chinese nationalists over image rights took a photo of himself holding up a Taiwan flag in a London train station and uploaded it to Facebook.
On Monday (Feb. 5), Brendan Kavanagh, also known as Dr. K, stood on a piano bench in London's St Pancras railway station and unfurled the Taiwan flag. He then posted the image and wrote, "All cool at the piano today," gaining 95,000 likes, 7,300 comments, and 7,800 shares.
The most liked comments were those of Taiwanese and foreigners living in Taiwan. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) head of international affairs Vincent Chao (趙怡翔) wrote, "Keep fighting the good fight!" Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) wrote, "Our national flag. The ROC flag symbolizes liberty, equality and philanthropy."
Kao Min-lin (高閔琳), director of the Kaohsiung City Government's Tourism Bureau wrote, "Thank you for your support! You’re always welcome to visit Taiwan! Taiwan loves you! Greetings from Kaohsiung, Taiwan!"
Kavanagh also posted a video on Facebook titled "Lesson in Taiwanese," in which a Taiwanese woman teaches him how to say "Go Taiwan!" (台灣加油) in Taiwanese.
During an incident on Jan. 19 that was live-streamed on his YouTube platform, Kavanagh had just finished playing a song when a group of Chinese people wearing red scarves and holding Chinese flags approached him and asked him to remove their images from his video. They claimed that they were filming a Chinese TV show and their image rights were protected and threatened legal action if he did not comply.
Kavanagh countered that in the U.K. such individual image rights do not apply in public places such as the train station. When arguing the subject with a female member of the party, he said, "We're not in China," to which she replied, "I'm also British."
He then pointed at the Chinese flag in her hand and asked why she was holding a "communist flag." A male member of the group shouted repeatedly "Don't touch her!" startling Kavanagh and prompting him to distance himself from the man.
When police arrived at the scene, a male officer explained to the Chinese that because they were in a public place, Kavanagh had the right to include them in his video. However, a female police officer confronted Kavanagh over the Chinese group's allegations that he had been racist for using the term "communist" and saying, "We're not in China."
The video has gained 9.9 million views and drew comments of support from people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Kavanagh discussed the incident on several major media outlets, including an interview with British journalist Mike Graham and an appearance on "Piers Morgan Uncensored."