21:25 GMT +325 March 2019
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    Fan Bingbing poses for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film L'Amant Double at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 26, 2017.

    Fan Bingbing Returns to Weibo With Post Touting China's Claim in Disputed Waters

    © AP Photo / Arthur Mola/Invision/AP
    Asia & Pacific
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    Famed Chinese actress Fan Bingbing recently resurfaced on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media website, by retweeting a post promoting China's disputed territorial claims of the South China Sea.

    Fan's Saturday Weibo post features a map shared online by The Communist Youth League of China, with the remark, "China cannot miss out on any inch," according to Bloomberg, which also noted that the map marked self-governing Taiwan as Chinese territory.

    Fan Bingbing publishes second post on Weibo, promoting self-governing Taiwan and much of the South China Sea as Chinese territory.
    Fan Bingbing publishes second post on Weibo, promoting self-governing Taiwan and much of the South China Sea as Chinese territory.

    The post, which is Fan's first since her October apology over her tax evasion scandal, has been suggested by netizens to be a forced response following the recent controversy in which Fu Yue, the director of the film "Our Youth in Taiwan," which won best documentary at the Golden Horse Awards, used her acceptance speech at the ceremony to advocate for Taiwan's independence.

    "I hope one day our country will be recognized and treated as a truly independent entity," Fu said. "This is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese."

    According to IndieWire, television and streaming coverage of the ceremony, which is the Chinese film industry's equivalent to the Oscars, immediately went dark, as Fu's speech was quickly censored.

    Although Taiwan has been a self-governing nation since 1949, China has continually looked upon the island as a wayward province. Mainland China has gone to great lengths to promote that viewpoint, including pushing Quantas Airlines to refer to Taiwan as a territory, rather than a nation.

    As for the South China Sea, which sees roughly $3 trillion worth of shipborne goods pass through its contested waters every year, parts of it are also claimed by Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Many of the Chinese government's claims to the waters are supported by its construction — or expansion — of islands, such as the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

    Recently, US Vice President Mike Pence told leaders at the 2018 summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore that the South China Sea does not belong to one nation.

    "The South China Sea doesn't belong to any one nation, and you can be sure: The United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows and our national interests demand," Pence said, adding onto previous comments in which he stressed that there was no room for "empire and aggression" in the region.

    The US, which does not recognize China's territorial claims in the waters, has repeatedly butted heads with Beijing on the matter, with US forces conducting "freedom of navigation operations" in the disputed area.

    Earlier this year, surfaced photos showed the moment that the USS Decatur was forced to quickly "slam on the brakes" in order to avoid colliding with the Chinese Luyang destroyer in September while it was conducting one of those operations. This incident took place after Chinese officials spotted the Decatur within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands.


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    Weibo, Fan Bingbing, China, Taiwan, South China Sea
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