Katy Perry has often come under fire for appropriating (and mocking) other cultures with her costumes and stage designs on tour. But her latest outfit is causing controversy for a different reason. At a concert in Taipei Tuesday night, the singer appeared to show political support for Taiwan’s full independence by draping the national flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s flag) over her shoulders during a song, which one fan in attendance captured on Instagram.
Her show also included a recurring sunflower motif, which some have interpreted as a symbol of support for Taiwain’s 2014 Sunflower Student Movement, which protested a trade deal between China and Taiwan. (It’s worth noting that Perry has performed with sunflowers as part of her set and wardrobe since last year.) So, what’s the big deal? Although some recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state (the U.S. government has officially adopted a “One-China” stance), it’s not generally viewed as autonomous from China. So Perry’s use of Taiwan’s flag in her concert could potentially be seen as defiant of China’s authority, especially considering Taiwan isn’t even allowed to compete at the Olympics with that same flag.
And while it’s unclear whether Perry was making a political statement intentionally, she’s not been shy about her political views back at home. She joked last year about writing Hillary Clinton a theme song and has previously campaigned for President Obama. Katy for prez? Wouldn’t that be something.