WORTH THE BAN:
Many people warned Chen about the loss of potential revenue from the Chinese market, but the Taiwan-based singer said she benefited in other ways.
Taiwan-based Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語) performed part of a banned song in China at the Democracy Summit in Copenhagen this week, and said her freedom as an artist is more important than the access to the Chinese market.
Chen performed part of the song Fragile (玻璃心), which pokes fun at Chinese nationalist social media users, on a small platform in a space outside the venue’s main auditorium at the end of the first day of the summit on Thursday.
She also released a new English song, Who Says, a song that Chen says is meant to encourage people who feel persecuted.
Photo courtesy of Office of New Power Party Legislator Claire Wang
“I really hope that people who feel repressed and closed off can know that in the free world, we are constantly fighting for them and for their rights,” Chen said.
Fragile, released online last year by Chen and Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志), is a Mandarin-language ballad that makes a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink,” a derogatory term that describes China’s patriotic “keyboard warriors.” .
To date, the song has received over 51 million views on YouTube and has helped Chen, who moved from Melbourne to Taipei in 2009, pursue a music career and rise to prominence in the global Mandarin music scene.
“I really hope my music can encourage and inspire people to be themselves and not be afraid of self-expression,” Chen said after performing the ballad at the top.
Days after the song was released last year, Chen’s profiles on Chinese social media platforms were suspended and his catalog was wiped from the Chinese internet.
Many people have warned her about the loss of potential revenue due to her ban on the Chinese market, but she believes she has benefited in other ways, she said.
“Actually, I feel like I’ve won so much. Not only am I able to stand up for what I believe in, but I’m also able to do what I think is right, and I feel like as a singer and songwriter, freedom and songwriting are so important to an artist,” Chen says.
The summit, held on Thursday and Friday, focused on uniting democratic forces to repel an authoritarian tide, its website said.
The Copenhagen Democracy Summit began five years ago, with current US President Joe Biden as the keynote speaker.
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