Top Gun restores Taiwan and Japan flags on iconic jacket after Tencent investment withdrawal

Top Gun restores Taiwan and Japan flags on iconic jacket after Tencent investment withdrawal

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Paramount Pictures' restoration of the Taiwanese and Japanese flags on Tom Cruise's iconic aviation jacket featured in the latest Top Gun: Maverick movie has drawn mixed reactions - joy from Taiwanese viewers and anger from Chinese netizens. This comes days after Tencent Holdings withdrew its investment in the film late last month. Media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post previously reported that Tencent pulled out of the US$170 million production after the company got concerned that its affiliation with a pro-US military movie would anger Beijing.

In the 2019 version of the trailer, the Taiwanese flag was either missing or could not be seen properly. This led to speculation about whether the flag was removed to "satisfy demands from China's censors", Bloomberg reported. The jacket was worn by Cruise's character in the movie as a tribute to his late father. The Taiwanese flag, along with the Japanese one, served as a reference to his late father's service on the USS Galveston CLG-3 cruiser in the Pacific Ocean in the movie, Bloomberg explained. 

When the film was shown during an advance screening, however, the flag appeared on Cruise's jacket, leading to applause in cinemas, Bloomberg and Taiwanese media outlet SETN reported. On the other hand, Chinese netizens were angered by this move. According to Taiwan News, an English-language portal for news about Taiwan, one Chinese netizen said audiences in China can just watch pirated copies instead while another commented that the Chinese market wouldn't want anything to do with Cruise in future.

There have long been tensions between Beijing and Taiwan, with military conflicts over the decades and travel and communication largely cut off. Authorities in Beijing believe Taiwan to be part of its territory and the Taiwanese flag is considered an independence symbol. Meanwhile, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen and her government have stressed that Taiwan is "already a de facto independent nation" that requires wider global recognition, Bloomberg said.

The US also recently ruffled China's feathers after president Joe Biden said last month that it will intervene militarily to protect Taiwan if the island is attack. According to BBC, Biden also said China is "flirting with danger" over Taiwan. In response, Beijing said there is "no room for compromise or concession" because Taiwan is "an inalienable part of China's territory". It also urged US to abide by the One China principle.

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