What looked to be just another ourragouse costume for Katy Perrty has stirred up animosity among those who saw the sunflower-studded dress she wore onstage Tuesday as a pro-Taiwanese statement.
Which, considering she was performing in Taipei and she was surrounded by sunflowers, could have been the case—but she’s performed in that costume before, reports Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone explains:
The relationship between Taiwan (technically known as the Republic of China) and mainland China (People’s Republic of China) is incredibly complex, as both governments claim to represent all of China — mainland and associated islands — and simultaneously refuse to recognize each other’s sovereignty. Since the ROC lost its United Nations seat as “China” to the PRC in 1971, many countries have recognized the latter as the sole legitimate government of China, including the United States (though it maintains unofficial ties with the ROC).
As such, the ROC flag Perry draped over her shoulders was viewed by many as a political statement itself, especially because the PRC has often fought to remove its presence from events like the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup. When combined with the sunflower dress, fans couldn’t help but interpret the outfit as a direct allusion to last year’s protests.
Thousands rallied outside the building in solidarity with the students inside, and demonstrators carried sunflowers as a symbol of hope.
So that is quite the statement of solidarity Perry seemed to be making.
The Prism artist, who also at one point donned the official flag of Taiwan (aka the Republic of China) as a cape while singing “Unconditionally,” certainly kept the conversation light during her concert, at one point telling the audience, “I don’t even know how to speak Mandarin. That’s what you speak, right?”
As Quartz points out, plenty of Perry’s Taiwanese fans adored the outfit and what could be construed as its political significance, while posts on Chinese social media indicated that the pop star may have lost some fans on the mainland.
“I’m speechless over Fruit Sister,” read one post on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo that referred to Perry by a local nickname (which she got for wearing a lot of costumes that involve fruit). “I suppose she has no chance to come to the mainland anymore, though she might not care. These performers who intervene in other countries’ politics are the most annoying.”