One of the world’s highest-paid supermodels has been under fire after posting ‘Happy Lunar New Year’ instead of ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ on her Instagram account.
Angry Chinese web users have taken to the social media app – which is blocked in mainland China – to accuse China-born model Liu Wen of being ‘unpatriotic’.
Ms Liu, 30, posted the controversial greetings under a picture of her and Wendi Deng Murdoch on February 19. She has changed the message to ‘Happy Chinese New Year’.
Liu Wen, 30, is one of the most famous Chinese fashion models in the world. The 5’10’ runway star is pictured walking Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on November 20, 2017 in Shanghai
Born in China’s Hunan Province, the 5’10’ runway star became the first Asian model to walk the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show in 2009.
With 3.7 million followers on Instagram, she is one of the first Chinese models to gain international recognition – after Du Juan – and was the eighth highest-paid model in the world in 2017, according to Forbes.
She is referred to by millions of Chinese fans as their ‘big sister’. The affectionate nickname was given to her because Ms Liu once was so awkward to be regonised by a fan she told the fan she was not Liu Wen but ‘her big sister’.
Despite all, her simple holiday wishes on Instagram yesterday immediately brought her unprecedented criticism, mostly posted in Simplified Chinese.
Ms Liu became the first Asian model to walk the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show in 2009. Pictured, she walks the runway during the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York
One Instagram user ‘baijingting999’ said: ‘For non-Chinese, it’d be okay to not say Chinese New Year. But for a Chinese person, not saying that is really sad. If we don’t respect our culture, don’t expect the others to respect ours.’
The same user also argued that as a celebrity and Chinese, Ms Liu should not de-valuate her own culture.
The user accused Ms Liu of kowtowing to other Asian countries, such as Vietnam and South Korea, which also celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Another Instagram user ‘Phoebegaoo’ also blasted Ms Liu for using ‘Lunar New Year’. The user argued that the festival originated in China and is different from Lunar New Year because it is based on the lunisolar calendar, not just the lunar calendar.
What’s the difference? Chinese New Year vs. Lunar New Year
People celebrate the Lunar New Year in London’s Chinatown on February 18, 2018
The festival in question is known as the Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival.
Even within China, it’s sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year or Lunar Spring Festival.
Different from the Western New Year, which is determined by the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar New Year is based on the lunar calendar, which in turn is based on the monthly cycles of the moon’s phases.
The occasion is celebrated around the world among Asian people, but the main festivities are observed in China and other East and South-east Asian countries, such as Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Many other web users are supporting Ms Liu. They claimed that the criticism was written by keyboard warriors in China who were ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’.
They accused the critics of being ‘unreasonable’ because they stated.even the Chinese state media are using the term ‘Lunar New Year’.
One user ‘elvisamissah’ said: ‘Don’t mind those brainwashed i****s! Happy new year Sis!’
Another user ‘akggk88’ commented: ‘Happy lunar new year from mainland.’
The Instagram post from Liu Wen has gathered 90,546 likes and 2,773 comments.
Ms Liu has been accused of using ‘Lunar New Year’ instead of ‘Chinese New Year’ in an Instagram post. The fashion icon has changed her wording after her account was bombarded
Ms Liu is one of a handful of Chinese models who have donned the Victoria Secret Angel Wings.
Although these supermodels are generally respected and admired by the Chinese people, they are also under immense social pressure to do things ‘correctly’.
Last November, Chinese supermodel Ming Xi, 28, had to apologised to her country after falling down on the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai.
The 28-year-old issued the apology on social media: ‘I’m sorry to let everybody down. Thanks for everybody’s concern.’