Chinese businessman Wang Xiaofei attracted the ire of netizens when he made unsupported claims about Taiwan’s road names and history.
On Tuesday, the 32-year-old posted about the story behind Taiwan’s road names on Weibo, claiming that they were named after locations in China because the Chinese political leader, Chiang Kai-shek, was homesick after not being able to return to China.
He wrote: “[I’m] sharing a secret with everyone. When the big brothers (Chiang Kai-shek and his army) arrived in Taipei many years ago, they couldn’t go back home [to China] even though they were homesick. That’s why Taipei was split into four areas.”
Xiaofei went on to point out how the northeastern area of Taipei had Jilin road and Changchun road; while the southwestern area had Guangxi road, Qingdao road, Nanjing road, Xining road and Jinan road – all of which are names of places in China.
“Mr Chiang’s longing for his hometown can be seen [in the road names],” the Beijing native added, “My favourite is still Taipei’s Beiping road.”
A while later, he went on to write another elaboration: “When the Guomintang (an anti-Communist political party founded by Sun Yat-sen) came to Taiwan in 1947, [they] revoked many road names that were put into place by the Japanese. For example, [out of all the road names] that end with “Ding”, “Simen Ding” is one of the more famous ones that is left.”
Angry netizens chided Xiaofei for being “uncultured”. The Taipei City Archives stated that there is currently no recorded support for his claims, and the date when the roads were named are also yet to be confirmed.
According to Taiwanese media reports, Xiaofei’s wife, Taiwanese artiste Barbie Hsu, is extremely vexed over her husband’s tendency to comment on Taiwan’s societal issues on his Weibo account. On Tuesday, she expressed that she is a daughter-in-law in Beijing, while Xiaofei is a son-in-law in Taiwan – hence, both Taiwan and Beijing are their homes.
Barbie’s mother was more cavalier about her son-in-law’s behaviour: “Everyone has a topic or person that they want to know and talk about. As long as [he] doesn’t do personal attacks or nasty criticism, it’s fine.”
Additionally, Xiaofei and Barbie’s newborn daughter, Wang Xiyue, turned two months old on Tuesday as well. The “Wang Xiyue Fan Club” Weibo account, which had specially been created for the baby, posted a picture of the Wang family in celebration of the occasion.