Chinese pop star and former EXO member Lu Han has ended his relationship with Audemars Piguet after its CEO referred to Taiwan as a “country”.
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The studio of the singer-actor announced its decision to cut ties with the luxury watch brand on Sunday (September 5), through a statement on its official Weibo account. In the statement, Lu Han Studio claimed that it had urged Audemars Piguet to issue an apology over the gaff, but had ultimately failed to reach an agreement with the company. Lu had been a brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet since 2018.
“National interests are above all else, Lu Han and Lu Han’s studio will defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” his company said, as translated by The Associated Press. China claims the self-governing island of Taiwan as part of its territory, and rejects any reference to the land as a country.
Audemars Piguet CEO reportedly referred to Taiwan as a “country” during an interview earlier this year. According to The Associated Press, he called the island an “ultra-modern, high-tech country” in a video recording of the interview.
Notably, Audemars Piguet had issued an apology for its CEO’s comment on Saturday (September 4), the day prior to Lu cutting ties with the company. It is currently unclear why the Lu Han Studio went on to end its relationship with the brand.
“We apologise for the recent incorrect statement,” a rep for the luxury brand wrote. “Audemars Piguet has always adhered to the one-China position and firmly safeguarded China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In other related news, a Chinese fan club of BTS member Jimin has been suspended by Weibo over their “irrational” support for the idol. The suspension was due to the account’s crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to celebrate the idol’s birthday, following the recent crackdown on celebrity and fan culture by the Chinese government.