Chinese netizens strike again, as Japanese animated live-streamers suspended for Taiwan segment

Published (HKT): 2020.09.28 22:49

Two Japanese animated live-streamers are the latest victims to come under the wrath of Chinese netizens, and being suspended from live shows on YouTube for three weeks after a segment mentioning Taiwan.

The two digitally-generated presenters, owned by Japanese company Hololive, came under fire after they listed Taiwan as a country in their live streams last week, announcing that the self-ruled island accounted for 4.7% and 7% of each of their worldwide fanbase. A Taiwanese flag was also shown to annotate the figures.

The scenes hit a nerve with mainland Chinese internet users, who subsequently flooded multiple platforms run by Hololive with complaints. This led to the two virtual YouTubers, named Akai Haato and Kiryu Coco, to be suspended from live shows for three weeks.

A virtual YouTuber, or VTuber in short, is a 3D animated presenter created by computer graphics to host live-streams on the popular video-sharing platform YouTube.

In addition to their suspension from YouTube, Akai Haato and Kiryu Coco have also been banned from live-streaming on China’s popular video-sharing site Bilibili, according to news reports.

COVER, Hololive’s parent company, issued a statement on Sunday saying it was suspending the two virtual hosts from live-streams from Monday until Oct. 19 for “divulging confidential YouTube channel analytics information.” It also said statements by Akai Haato and Kiryu Coco were “insensitive to residents of certain regions.”

The Japanese company also apologized during a live Bilibili broadcast, saying it would enhance education on its “artists” and improve its system to avoid a repeat of similar events. The company also said it “always respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “firmly upholds the one-China principle.”

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