Deric Wan Siu-lun provokes fury amongst fellow Hongkongers with Chinese patriotism
Hong Kong pop star Deric Wan Siu-lun took the perhaps unwise step to express his fierce allegiance to China on social media site Sina Weibo, provoking a furious backlash from Hongkongers.
“I am very glad that Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. I, as a Hongkonger, didn’t belong to any country before 1997, but now I am proud to say that my country is China,” said Wan, 48, on his Weibo.
“I am Chinese! No matter how you criticise me, you can’t change my patriotic heart.”
Since October 26, Wan has posted a series of nationalist comments on his social media account. According to his agent Wu Yutong, the recent clashes between Japan and China over disputed islands known as the Diaoyu islands in China, or the Senkaku islands in Japan, awakened Wan’s patriotism.
The latest posting caused a heated discussion online, many comments criticising Wan. The singer responded by branding the commentators “anti-patriotic people”.
He further stoked tensions by reporting negative comments about his postings that had been retweeted more that 500 times, together with their IP addresses, to departments concerned.
Hong Kong Commercial Radio host Siu To Poon derided Wan’s actions on his Facebook page, while actor Chapman To Man-chak also weighed in saying Wan should “polish shoes for the Communist Party,” with accompanying coarse language.
To told the Oriental Daily News that he felt sorry “but not about what [I] said, but rather about appearing in the same news [reports] with Wan.”
“You asked whether I am patriotic or not, but this is private. I don’t need to say it out loud everyday,” To added.
Before the incident, Wan had posted a photo on his Weibo account showing similarities in appearance between his father and To. When Hong Kong local media mentioned this to To, he replied: “I hope you stop saying we look alike. If I was his father, I’d slap him.
“I am not interested in responding to news about some celebrity who can’t survive in Hong Kong.”
After the 1990s, Wan gradually disappeared from the Hong Kong entertainment industry, but his acting career since picked up in mainland China. Many netizens condemned his postings as insincere and as a way to cosy up to the Chinese government and therefore improve his career prospects on the mainland.
“We are furious. We don’t want to respond or start anything. We understand that not everyone’s thoughts are on the same level,” said Wu, Wan’s agent.
To’s comments also enraged Wan’s wife. She fought back on Wan’s weibo account last night saying: “You can refuse to accept that Hong Kong has returned to China, but as a wife, I absolutely won’t stand your nonsense in insulting my husband.
“I and my husband feel ashamed to be called Chinese with someone like you.”