Face masks with Taiwan flag become hot item to fend off Chinese buyers

Netizens go into frenzy over Taiwan flags as ultimate solution to face mask shortage

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/02/03
By: Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

(Champ Mask website screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese, Japanese, and Western netizens have gone into a frenzy over a meme showing images of face masks with Taiwan flags as the ultimate solution to ensure a steady supply of masks as the world clambers for protection against the China coronavirus.

Last week, as fears over the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reached a fever pitch and Chinese purchases of face masks rapidly began to deplete the global supply, an image surfaced on social media showing masks guaranteed to keep Chinese away because of the presence of the dreaded Taiwanese flag. Images of the masks first surfaced on Twitter and Reddit with the caption "Taiwan printed its national flag on face masks so that any mainland Chinese who buys them will have to wear the Taiwanese flag on his face."

Next, the image made its way to the Japanese social media site Ameba when Japanese blogger Rie Ogasawara (小笠原理惠) posted it on Sunday (Feb. 2). She added a caption in Japanese which reads, "Taiwanese print their national flag on the mask so that when Chinese buy it, they will wear the Taiwanese national flag on their face." Taiwanese netizens on the popular online forum PTT then misunderstood the post and believed that the masks had been created in Japan.

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