Once banned Taiwan singer eyes Beijing Games

Fri Feb 1, 2008 2:05am EST
 
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By Vivi Lin

BEIJING (Reuters) - Taiwan pop star Chang Hui-mei, once banned from performing in China, is hoping she will be chosen to sing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, her past political problems forgiven and forgotten.

Chang has recorded a song in English called "Forever Friends" which, if chosen, she will perform in front of a global audience of billions on the night of August 8, when the Olympics open.

It would mark an amazing comeback for a singer, affectionately known as A-Mei, who in 2000 sang the Taiwan anthem for anti-China President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration.

China was incensed and stopped her from performing there until the summer of 2001. Though later allowed to return, in 2004 she cancelled a performance in Hangzhou after a protest by nearly 100 people accusing her of supporting Taiwan independence.

Chang, 35, declined to talk directly about those incidents in a recent interview with Reuters at a Beijing recording studio.

"I cannot say that my 10-year career path has been very smooth," the petite singer said.

"But at least in the past 10 years, I have had highs and lows and I am glad to have walked safely through it all," she added.

China views self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory. The island has been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled there at the end of a civil war in 1949.   Continued...

 
<p>Taiwan pop star Chang Hui-mei records a song in English called "Forever Friends" at a studio in Beijing January 24, 2008. Chang, once banned from performing in China, is hoping she will be chosen to sing at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, her past political problems forgiven and forgotten. REUTERS/Grace Liang</p>