A worker at Chinese hotpot restaurant has been sacked for comments about Taiwan.
A worker at Chinese hotpot restaurant has been sacked for comments about Taiwan.

Taiwanese waitress sacked for two words

AN AUSTRALIAN restaurant has been accused of sacking a Taiwanese worker for saying Taiwan was not part of China.

The woman, known only as Winnie, claims she was sacked from a hotpot restaurant in Sydney's inner-west after being grilled by her boss about her stance on the hot-button issue.

According to a Facebook post, which was picked up by Chinese media after going viral, Winnie was working a night shift at the restaurant when the incident happened.

"At that time, the restaurant was not very busy, the boss called me via walkie talkie," she wrote. "Winnie, Winnie, could I ask you a question?" he asked, according to her account. "Does Taiwan belong to China?"

She immediately replied, "Definitely not." Twenty minutes later, she was told to go home and not come back to work the next day.

In her Facebook post, Winnie said she did "not even think about" the response. "Personally speaking, I hold a neutral position on the relationship between China and Taiwan," she wrote. "I was dumbfounded ... I felt speechless."

Reached for comment on Monday morning, an employee at the restaurant said he was aware of the story but didn't "know the details", and to call back later that evening to speak to the manager.

On Facebook, others responded with stories of similar incidents. One Taiwanese man recalled going to work at a large banquet hall in Australia two years ago, where he was asked by the manager whether he supported reunification.

"I replied, 'Taiwan is very democratic, we must respect the people in Taiwan,'" wrote Yangson Tsai. "I did not work after that. I would like to ask, if Chinese people are so patriotic, why don't they go back? Why are they dying to stay in Australia? [Why do they] study abroad to find ways to not return to China?"

Chien Chung Wang said "these kind of Chinese" had been indoctrinated with Chinese nationalism "since drinking milk", even in a "free and democratic country where ordinary people live a very low profile".

On Chinese social media, many appeared to support the sacking. "The answer should be 'yes'," Wai Man Sung wrote on Weibo. "And one more sentence. Australia belongs to China."

Zhao Weicheng said he was an employer and he would have done the same, because the majority of his staff were mainland Chinese.

"There are so many people in the store that [believe] Taiwan does not belong to China," he wrote, saying it was a choice between sacking one person or leaving them to "influence" the team. "It is not a good thing for the entire staff."

Some urged the employee to file an application for unfair dismissal with the Fair Work Commission. A Fair Work spokeswoman declined to comment due to privacy issues.

Taiwan has officially been known as the Republic of China since 1949, when the government fled to the island during the Chinese Civil War following the fall of mainland China to Communist forces.

Under the One China Policy, China's Communist regime has claimed ownership over Taiwan ever since and refuses to recognise its existence as an independent state.

The issue has been a diplomatic quagmire for decades - just last month, China reacted with outrage at a planned visit by US warships to Taiwan, warning it would invade the island "the day" that ever happened.

Taiwan, along with contested border regions with India and tensions on the Korean peninsula between South Korea and China ally North Korea, is a favourite issue among nationalistic Chinese.

Last year, Australian university professors raised concerns they were increasingly coming under attack from Chinese students for teaching classes that contradict Chinese ruling party ideology.

In one case, a University of Newcastle student secretly filmed and uploaded a video to YouTube of himself arguing with a professor who referred to Taiwan and Hong Kong as independent countries.

News Corp Australia

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