Miss Taiwan allegedly stopped from waving Taiwan flag during global tech event in M'sia

Taipei accuses Beijing of putting pressure on the conference organisers.

Belmont Lay | September 15, 2022, 02:44 PM

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A Taiwanese beauty queen was seen crying after she was allegedly barred from waving the Taiwan flag on stage at a Malaysian trade event, AFP reported.

Taipei, in turn, accused China on Sep. 14 of putting pressure on the organisers of the technology conference that was held in Penang.

Photographed crying

The beauty queen Kao Man-jung, also known as Maggie Kao, was photographed crying as other contestants in a beauty pageant appeared on stage during Tuesday's opening ceremony of the 2022 World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT), AFP reported.

Citing Taiwanese media, AFP said while other contestants were seen waving the flags of their countries, Kao was stopped just as she was about to go on stage.

Karen Yu, director-general of Taoyuan City's Department of Information Technology, attended the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT).

She posted a video of Kao wiping tears from her eyes shortly after she appeared to have been instructed to stay put by the event's handlers.

Yu wrote that Kao was stopped by the organisers at the very last minute right before she was due to go on stage.

Kao was Miss Chinese World 2021 and Miss Taiwan (Miss Chinese Taipei) 2017/2018.

She is among more than 40 contestants in the running for the Miss Asia Global title in the finals in Malaysia on Sep. 18.

Formal complaint

"China pressured the Malaysian organisers to ban Miss Kao from holding our national flag on stage," Taiwan's foreign ministry said.

The ministry added that it had instructed its representative office in Malaysia to lodge a formal complaint with the organisers.

Taiwan's foreign ministry also accused Beijing of deploying "vile actions", adding that such suppression "would only disgust Taiwanese people and the international community even more".

According to Yu, attendees at the event were heard cheering "Taiwan Go!" in English.

After the incident, Yu said she found Kao and offered comfort and encouragement.

The organiser of WCIT also went to apologise to Kao, wrote Yu.

Conference organiser responds

The organisers of a global tech event said they had no choice but to abide by the one-China policy set by the country in asking a Taiwanese beauty queen not to wave the island’s flag on stage, Free Malaysia Today reported.

Sean Seah, the organising chairman of the 2022 World Congress on Innovation and Technology (WCIT), said: “Malaysia strictly follows the one-China policy, and since this is a national event, we are obliged to follow and protect the country’s pledge in supporting the policy.”

“Running a global event like this, we are bound by guidelines. We are unable to take any position on this.”

Malaysia acknowledges that Taiwan is part of China under the 1974 joint communique struck with China.

Top photo adapted via Karen Yu Facebook