Minitrue: Pull Blinds Down on “Island’s Sunrise”

The following instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Find and delete all news related to “Island’s Sunrise” winning Song of the Year at the Golden Melody Awards. (June 27, 2015) [Chinese]

Chinese television broadcast Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards live on Saturday, but blocked the Song of the Year award through a time delay. That award went to the band Fire EX for “Island’s Sunrise,” a song they produced for the sit-in at Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan last March. The three-week Sunflower Movement succeeded in halting a trade deal with China and invigorated youth political participation. The band thanked the protesters in their acceptance speech:

“I think this award isn’t just about Fire EX, but more importantly indirectly affirms last year’s movement and what everyone did to change Taiwan. I truly hope everyone will hold onto this enthusiasm and love to work together to make Taiwan a better country.” [transcribed from video]

The music video for “Island’s Sunrise” is a montage of scenes from the sit-in and clashes with police:

At the blog Thinking Taiwan, Michael J. Cole notes that when singer Huang Wei-chieh brought a banner on stage protesting forced evictions in Taiwan’s Miaoli County, Singaporean viewers were treated to a break in the program. But the cover-up of Fire EX’s win went beyond Chinese TV screens:

It was even worse if you were watching in China, where coverage was immediately blocked when the winner in the “song of the year” category was announced. For obvious reasons, Fire EX’s (滅火器) “Island’s Sunrise” (島嶼天光) — a song that became the anthem for last year’s Sunflower Movement, which successfully prevented the government from implementing a highly controversial services trade agreement with China — was unpalatable to the Chinese authorities. Unless the Chinese were able to bypass the Great Firewall of China, they could only conclude that this year, there was no “song of the year” in Taiwan.

Less nefarious, but still troubling, is the fact that while viewers on Taiwan Television (TTV, 台視), the official broadcaster of the event, saw the whole thing live, uninterrupted and uncensored, most news broadcasts on other Taiwanese channels later on did not report on Fire EX’s win. All of them instead focused on the awards bagged by Jolin Tsai (蔡依林), A-mei (張惠妹) and Hong Kong’s Eason Chan (陳奕迅). Focus Taiwan, state-run Central News Agency’s English-language service, ran a total of 10 articles on the event. None, however, headlines the winner in the “song of the year” category or Fire EX, which is only mentioned in the complete list of the night’s winners in an article titled “Jolin Tsai’s ‘Play’ biggest winner at Golden Melody Awards.” (To their credit, Focus Taiwan did run an article about Hong Kong singer Karen Mok [莫文蔚] expressing her support for last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that made gay marriage legal across the U.S.) [Source]

The Kuomintang (KMT) suffered in last fall’s local elections, a sign that frustration with President Ma Ying-jeou’s party has not abated since the end of the Sunflower Movement. Despite Ma’s warm approach to Beijing, he also voiced support for Hong Kong protesters last November.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.