Thirty-year-old Chinese model Liu Wen 刘雯 is under fire for not wishing her 3.7 million Instagram followers a “Happy Chinese New Year.” Instead, she wrote “Happy Lunar New Year.”
The post was made on her Instagram account on February 18, along with a photo of her posing with Wendi Deng Murdoch 邓文迪.
The greeting quickly attracted a flood of angry comments written in Chinese on the photo-sharing platform, which is blocked in mainland China, with many people accusing Liu of not being proud of her Chinese heritage and attempting to erase her Chinese roots.
Below is a selection of typical comments criticizing Liu:
“What an international supermodel.”
“China doesn’t have Lunar New Year!”
“Why didn’t you post this de-sinicized greeting, ‘Lunar New Year,’ on Weibo?”
“This post turned me into your hater. Are you still aware that you are Chinese?”
“Look, there is a Vietnamese here.”
To avoid increasing backlash, Liu deleted the original post on February 18 and replaced it with the same photo along with a revised caption that reads, “Happy Chinese New Year!!!”
However, given that in the previous years, Liu always referred to the holiday as “Chinese New Year” rather than “Lunar New Year,” many Chinese internet users are still demanding an explanation from her as to why she suddenly changed her word choice this year.
Prior to Liu, Taiwanese actor Peng Yuyan 彭于晏 also stirred up a controversy, on February 15, when he posted a travel photo on Instagram with the hashtag #happylunarnewyear. After being slammed for not identifying himself as Chinese, Peng added another hashtag, #happychinesenewyear2018, in a revised version.