Taiwanese singer Jay Chou did not release anti-DPP 'Letter to Taiwan Youth' song

  • Published on January 9, 2024 at 08:20
  • 3 min read
  • By AFP Hong Kong
As Taiwan prepared for crucial elections in January 2024, social media posts falsely claimed that Taiwanese pop superstar Jay Chou released a song mocking the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which has faced a barrage of misinformation stemming from pro-Beijing accounts. However, the song "A Letter to Taiwan Youth" was in fact posted on a YouTube channel in 2021 and is a lyrical adaptation of a 2004 Jay Chou song. There is no trace of the song on the singer's Spotify or YouTube accounts.

"A big challenge! Jay Chou just released a new single 'A Letter to the Youth of Taiwan'?" reads a TikTok post shared on November 13, 2023.

Jay Chou is a popular Taiwanese singer and songwriter known as the King of Mandopop (archived link).

"Will the song be fine? Will it be banned?" the TikTok post asks.

It shows a video of a song in Mandarin which appears to mock Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), with lyrics written in simplified Chinese -- the script used in mainland China -- shown onscreen.

"Someone is lying on camera", the male vocalist sings, as the music video shows Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen at a press conference. Later, the singer intones, "now dignity is for sale" as Tsai is seen meeting US politicians.

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Screenshot of the false post, captured on January 5, 2024

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and rejects the stance of the DPP, which says the self-ruled island is a sovereign nation. 

The video surfaced ahead of Taiwan's crucial January 13 election, which is being closely watched by policymakers from Beijing to Washington – as its outcome could reshape future relations with an increasingly bellicose China.

The video was shared in similar posts falsely claiming it showed a Jay Chou song, including on Rumble, X and Facebook. It was also shared in articles by Manila-based Chinese news site World News and a blog page affiliated with the Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News.

Adapted work

A keyword search on Google traced the song to a YouTube channel called Seven Unbreakable, posted on November 16, 2021 (archived link).

The description of the video says the song was adapted from Jay Chou's "Wounds of War".

The song features the same music as "Wounds of War", but lyrics and video clips mocking the DPP have been added.

At the start of the music video, on-screen text credits the lyrics and vocals of the song to Seven Unbreakable -- not Jay Chou.

According to Seven Unbreakable's Weibo account, he is the lyricist of various song adaptations and is one of the moderators of a Weibo trending topic page that pushes back against perceived China "smear campaigns".

He described the adaptation of "Wounds of War" as "a letter to Taiwan youth from mainland China" in November 2021.

"Wounds of War" was released on August 3, 2004, according to Jay Chou's official YouTube Channel (archived link).

The song is an anti-war anthem which encourages concern for children affected by conflict around the world.

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Screenshot of the authentic music video of Chou's single "Wounds of War", whose melody was misused, on Chou's verified YouTube channel

According to Jay Chou's Spotify profile and YouTube channel, the singer released only one single in 2023, "Christmas Star", featuring Gary Yang (archived links here and here). 

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