Seoul: Chinese nationalists erupted in anger Wednesday at South Korean boy band ‘BTS’. This development came after the leader of the boy band thanked Korean War veterans for their sacrifices. The singer, who goes by the name ‘RM’, made the remark in a recorded acceptance speech. He made the speech for an award from the Korea Society for promoting US-Korean relations.
“We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, the sacrifices of countless men and women,” RM said in the speech. His statements made no mention of China. “After 70 years, the world we are living in is much closer than before. Boundaries in many aspects are getting more blurred. As members of the global community, we should build a deeper understanding and solidarity to be happier together,” he added.
Chinese internet users and state media took RM’s comments as a slap at China. Chinese soldiers fought alongside North Korean forces during their failed attempt to annex South Korea in the 1950-53 war.
They accused RM of ignoring the role played by China in the war. It should be stated here Chinese Communist Party propaganda blames on the United States, instead of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung’s attack on South Korea.
“Before, I thought some BTS songs were pretty good. Now, they seem to be covered in excrement,” said a commenter on ‘Sina Weibo’. “Insulting China is absolutely not allowed,” the person added. A hashtag ‘BTS Insults China’ had been viewed more than 4.5 million times, according to Sina Weibo.
“Many Chinese netizens pointed out that the speech plays up to US netizens. However, the country played the role of aggressor in the war,” said an article in the ‘Global Times’ newspaper. The newspaper is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Asked about the controversy, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said, “What I want to say is that it should be our common pursuit to take history as a mirror, face the future, cherish peace and promote friendship.””
The ruling party often uses the state-controlled media to whip up anger against foreign companies, celebrities or governments.
Last year, Chinese state TV suspended broadcasts of NBA games. This happened after the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Broadcasts resumed this week.
In 2017, Beijing destroyed South Korean retailer Lotte’s business in China. The move came after Lotte sold land to South Korea’s government to install an anti-missile system opposed by Chinese leaders.
Since the Korean War, Beijing has helped prop up isolated North Korea with gifts of oil and other aid to maintain a buffer between China and US-allied South Korea.
Online Chinese fan groups demanded an apology from BTS and called for boycotts of an upcoming album and promotional events.