Kiko Mizuhara sends apology video to China
Last Friday, Japanese-American model-actress Kiko Mizuhara, best known as K-pop superstar G-Dragon's rumoured girlfriend, released an apology video to China on her Sina Weibo account.
The 25-year-old, whose real name is Audrie Kiko Daniel, had been at the centre of an online furore on the popular Chinese microblogging platform since late April.
This was after Chinese actress-director Vicki Zhao had released a poster of her second directorial effort, No Other Love, showing Mizuhara and Taiwanese actor Leon Dai as part of the movie's ensemble cast.
The last couple of months saw intrepid Chinese netizens dig up old photos as "evidence" of Mizuhara's "anti-China sentiments" and "right-wing Japanese nationalism".
Two pictures allegedly show her posing with the offensive Rising Sun Flag and visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, while the other one was of her liking a 2013 Instagram photo of dissident artist Ai Weiwei giving Tiananmen Square - one of Beijing's most iconic landmarks - the middle finger.
In Mizuhara's nearly five-minute video, recorded in English and a smattering of Mandarin, she clarified that she was not the woman in the pictures with the Rising Sun Flag and Yasukuni Shrine.
She admitted to liking the Instagram picture of Ai, but referred to her action as "regrettable".
"I found out that my friend has posted an extremely inappropriate picture... I deleted my 'like' within an hour," she explained.
Mizuhara apologised multiple times throughout her video, bowed deeply towards the end and appeared to be holding back tears.
Several netizens said they were disappointed that Mizuhara, in a bid to keep her relations with the lucrative Chinese market, had "chosen to throw away her pride".
Liberal newspaper Apple Daily Hong Kong carried the story on Facebook with a sarcastic caption "Renminbi rules the world", while Hong Kong singer-activist Denise Ho lamented: "This form of humiliation will just go on and on. (Kiko) is not the first, and she won't be the last."