Things are starting to escalate on the micro level between Chinese and South Korean netizens over each side’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. This all started with an acceptance speech BTS made on October 7 for the James A. Van Fleet Award by The Korea Society for their contributions in promoting South Korea-US relations. Member, RM, mentioned the sacrifices and lives lost between “two countries” during the Korean War, which implies the US and South Korea. Chinese netizens and Chinese ARMYS were outraged that China and Chinese soldiers were omitted from their speech, even though they were on North Korea’s side, fighting against South Korea and its allies.
Chinese netizens made comments with strong opposition to BTS and told them to “Get out!” and some saying to continue strengthening the Hallyu ban. Spokespersons from the foreign ministries of South Korea and China both made similar statements about the controversy saying that both countries will continue to maintain peace and good relations with each other. There were reports that Chinese Customs had implemented a new policy to ban the imports and clearance of BTS related products into China. This was dispelled by the Chinese FM spokesperson, Zhao Lijian.
On October 23, a plethora of Chinese celebrities reposted a post from the state run CCTV News Weibo account celebrating “the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army leaving the country to fight the war to “Resist the US, Aid North Korea”. The post read, “At this moment, let’s all post on Weibo together! For each volunteer soldier! Pay tribute to heroes! Today, 1.4 billion people will jointly commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army leaving the country to fight the war to “Resist the US, Aid North Korea”, remembering the great victory! The country will always remember the brave volunteer soldiers.”
Korean netizens took note of the Chinese celebrities (Lay Zhang, Victoria Song, Zhou Jieqiong, Meng Meiqi, Cheng Xiao, and more), who have promoted or have a following in South Korea , that reposted the commemorative post. They have called for a ban on those idols from promoting in South Korea. Korean netizens on the Korean forum, “theqoo”, also pointed out other celebrities who have participated in the reposting of the commemorative post such as Deng Lun (邓伦), Wang Yibo (王一博), Yang Zi (杨紫), Xiao Zhan (肖战), Liu Shishi (刘诗诗), Yang Yang (杨洋), Dilraba (迪丽热巴), and more. The two celebrities they singled out were Deng Lun and Wang Yibo.
Deng Lun enjoyed popularity in South Korea through the series, “Ashes of Love”, while Wang Yibo debuted in South Korea 6 years ago through his group UNIQ and experienced a resurgence in popularity over there with “The Untamed”. The comments ranged from:
“Deng Lun and Yibo are for real?
“Deng Lun Yang Zi ssi-bal“
“Is Deng Lun crazy?”
“Why are you like this, Deng Lun?”
“Deng Lun is crazy, why are you in there? Really ssi-bal”
“Isn’t Deng Lun really popular in our country? Ashes of Love?”
“Bye Deng Lun”
“Deng Lun, first Chinese artist I was interested in and then I was shattered. I can only treat “Ashes of Love” as a wonderful memory.”
“Deng Lun, Wang Yibo, Xiao Zhan, all have their own rooms on theqoo, right? It seems their popularity in Korea is quite high.”
“Once loved, Deng Lun”
“Deng Lun, ssi-bal…Yang zi…What we’re following are not Chinese celebrities, but stupid Chinese devils.”
“Really annoying, ssi-bal Deng Lun”
“Deng Lun Wang Yibo Xiao Zhan ssi-bal”
“Those kids who like Deng Lun and Wang Yibo are real ssi-bal”.
“Those who like Deng Lun and Wang Yibo go to China.”
“Wang Yibo and Deng Lun often show up in the theqoo ranking.”
“Liked Deng Lun before”
“Deng Lun and Xiao Zhan leave well. It was very happy during this time.”
Chinese netizens responded to the theqoo comments:
“If your idol doesn’t even love their own country, would you like them?”
“The saddest thing is Korean fans know how to quit being their fans, but domestic fans of Korean [stars] don’t even know how to quit being their fans.”
“Each country liking their own country’s fans is fine. It’s enough for us to like our own country’s celebrities. Who cares about them?”
“Not losing out on you guys”
“Just develop domestically in the future, the amount of domestic fans is already enough.”
“What are they boycotting? It’s not like they’re making money there. Those Koreans are viewing themselves too importantly.”
“We didn’t yell at those Korean stars any less on Weibo for insulting Chinese celebrities. Hope everyone yells at each other to create new sparks.”
“Ssi-bal your younger sister”