China cuts Korean singer, or blurs his face, on TV show

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China cuts Korean singer, or blurs his face, on TV show

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Left: Korean singer Hwang Chi-yeul, who is popular among Chinese viewers. Right: A Chinese TV show deleted scenes featuring Hwang or blocked his image with subtitles or pixilation. [JOONGANG ILBO, NEWSIS]

In apparent retaliation for Korea’s decision to deploy a U.S.-led antimissile defense system, a Chinese TV show deleted scenes featuring Korean singer Hwang Chi-yeul or blocked his image with subtitles and even pixilation.

Chinese companies have been canceling events with Korean celebrities since Seoul’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system, but this is the first known case of scenes already filmed with a Korean celebrity being edited out of a show.

Hwang was invited by Chinese producers to appear as a guest star on the 10th episode of the second season of “Tiaozhanzhe Lianmeng,” or ‘Challengers Union,’ on Zhejiang TV, and filmed the episode with Chinese talents. Hwang became popular in China after winning third place in the Chinese version of “I Am a Singer” season four.

‘Challengers Union’ stars TV personalities like Fan Bingbing, who are told to carry out team missions. Hwang was asked to perform as a chef in the episode and find cooking ingredients from the markets of Shanghai.

Yet when the episode was aired Saturday, the only glimpses of Hwang were the back of his head or his face covered by subtitles or made fuzzy with pixilation.

“The show appears almost completely cut,” reported China’s portal website Sina on Tuesday. “According to some insiders from the TV show, [producers and others involved] cut some scenes involving Hwang.”

Hwang’s name was absent from the credits at the end of the show.

According to the Sina article, Hwang’s appearances on other Chinese TV shows like “Happy Camp” were edited out when they were uploaded online.

“[Hwang’s disappearance from the show] proves that the rumored ‘South Korea ban’ after the Thaad decision is true,” commented a fan of Hwang in an online post. “If they wanted to cut him out of the show, they should have just done that. I don’t know why they would pixilate his face, it’s even more degrading.”

Other Chinese netizens approved.

“It’s a good thing that they cut out the Korean celebrities,” read one online post.

Ever since South Korea and the United States jointly announced their decision to deploy the Thaad system in Korea on July 8, Beijing has been retaliating against Korea’s entertainment business, though it doesn’t admit so officially.

Events in China with K-pop and K-drama stars, including boyband EXO, have been cancelled, which has even affected the stock prices of K-pop management companies, including SM, YG and JYP.

Yet the so-called entertainment sanction doesn’t appear to be iron-clad. “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” starring actor Lee Joon-gi and singer-songwriter IU are set to air in China from Aug. 29.

BY YEH YOUNG-JUNE, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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