Shame on Chinese fansSome Chinese people lambasting BTS for comments made after the Van Fleet Award ceremony were seriously misled. State media made it worse by reporting the affair.
BTS won the award from the Korea Society honoring an individual or a group contributing to Korea-U.S. ties. Upon receiving the award, leader RM said “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women” as he noted that the year marked the 70th year of the 1950-1953 Korean war.
Some Chinese netizens found the comment slanderous toward China. They claimed BTS neglected U.S. aggression and interference in Asian affairs. They threatened leaving the fan clubs and boycotting BTS music and related items.
Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and Fila featuring BTS in their ads had to remove the products they promoted from their websites. Companies had to turn panicky because an innocent comment from an entertainer was politicized.
Singer and entertainer Lee Hyo-ri also came under fiery attack from Chinese netizens for her comment on a TV show proposing to take “Mao” as her stage name. Some Chinese found the comment insulting toward their founder Mao Zedong.
But the claims over the Korean War must be corrected as they reflect distorted historic views. Chinese textbooks do not clarify that North Korea invaded the South to start the war and only say the Chinese got involved because the United States attacked the North.
The Chinese Army celebrates Oct. 25 as its first victory against the United States after it crossed the Yalu River to assist the North on Oct. 19, 1950. Soviet documents secured by domestic and foreign scholars showed Kim Il Sung had planned the invasion. Even Shen Zhihua, a renowned Chinese scholar on Cold War studies and professor of history at East China Normal University, acknowledges North Korea’s invasion of the South.
China’s habit of overreacting and applying politics on cultural and entertainment affairs does not aid bilateral relationships. China’s Foreign Ministry has made the right step by interfering to stress a “forward-looking relationship based on the history.”