BTS’ comments on Korean War leads to backlash among China's social media users

Following BTS' comments on the Korean War at a recent event, advertisements of brands including Samsung, Fila, and Hyundai that featured the boy band have reportedly disappeared from several Chinese websites.

FP Trending October 13, 2020 11:45:24 IST
BTS’ comments on Korean War leads to backlash among China's social media users

BTS members pose at the virtual press conference for "Dynamite" ahead of the music video release | Big Hit Entertainment

BTS is one of the most widely followed and most recognised K-pop group in today’s world. Even though they have fans or ARMYs all around the world, South Korea and China are two of the biggest markets for any Korean pop band. However, a recent prize acceptance speech by BTS leader Rap Monster or RM has angered China fans.

The group was honoured by Korea Society, a New York-headquartered non-profit organisation that works on building better relations between the United States and South Korea.

While accepting the General James A Van Fleet Award, RM on behalf of the boyband extended solidarity with the US. He said, “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”

The General James A Van Fleet Award is given to those who have made “outstanding contributions” in promoting the US-Korea relations.

The conflict in 1950-1953, that saw the US and South Korea team up, had China backing North Korea. Hence, RM’s comments about the war have not gone down well with the septet's Chinese fans.

Many have said that BTS should not be profiting off China if they hold such a point of view on the war. Global Times quoted a BTS fan who had decided to leave the fandom post the comments. The fan surnamed Li said, "There were thousands of Chinese soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the war. You are South Korean people and you can say that, but I am Chinese so I decided to be angry and quit the boy band's fan club to express my clear attitude".

According to BBC, BTS has at least five million fans on China's social media platform Weibo alone. However, the fans have stayed low-key on the issue, with some saying that BTS did not mention China directly.

The report also talked about the commercial implications of the backlash. Advertisements of brands including Samsung, Fila, and Hyundai that featured the boy band have reportedly disappeared from several Chinese websites.

In the Korean War, around 200,000 South Korean soldiers and 36,000 American soldiers had died, mentioned the report. According to the numbers brought out by the Chinese state media, about 180,000 soldiers from China had also lost their lives.

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