Chinese star breaks ties with Swiss watch brand in Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese singer and actor Lu Han, a former member of the popular K-pop boy band EXO, has a relationship with Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet after the CEO called Taiwan a country in an interview. He said he would cut it off.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, opposes mentioning the autonomous island as a country. Under one-country policy, other countries have diplomatic relations with either China or Taiwan, but not with both.

In an online video, watch brand CEO François Henri Benamias calls Taiwan an “ultra-modern, high-tech country” in an interview.

Lou has been the ambassador of Audemars Piguet since 2018. According to a statement posted by Lou’s studio, Lou’s studio urged the watch brand to apologize in both Chinese and English, but failed to reach an agreement with the company and Lou broke the relationship. ..

“National interests are of utmost importance, and Luhan and Luhan’s studios will defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read.

It was not immediately clear what was the cause of their disagreement. Audemars Piguet posted a Chinese statement on Weibo apologizing for the mistake on Saturday.

“We apologize for the recent misrepresentation. Audemars Piguet has always maintained a position in China and has firmly defended China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement said.

Chinese celebrities are often pressured or faced with the values ​​endorsed by the Chinese government.

Celebrities such as Fan Bingbing and Zheng Shuang were fined heavily for tax evasion, and popular actress Zhao Wei removed her name from the credits of the movies and TV shows she starred last week without explanation.

More than 30 Chinese celebrities from Nike, H & M and Adidas in March after state media criticized the brand for expressing concern about the use of Xinjiang cotton in response to complaints of abuse and discrimination against ethnic minorities in the region. The relationship with such brands has been cut off.

According to foreign governments and researchers, more than one million members of Uighurs and other predominantly Islamic minorities have been trapped in camps in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.