April 02, 2018 12:49
The field of light entertainment offers one of the clearest signs yet that China is easing an angry unofficial boycott of Korean goods and services over the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery spat.
Some Chinese movies starring Korean actors recently opened in theaters there, and Korean companies are taking part in an animation festival in China.
Korean booths will be set up at the China International Cartoon and Animation Festival in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province from April 26 to May 1, so that some 20 Korean production firms can pitch export deals for 50 animated films. CICAF is China's largest animation festival, drawing around 1.3 million visitors and some 300,000 industry figures each year.
Korean animation companies have been invited to CICAF each year between 2014 and 2016 but were barred last year due to a dubious accusation that they violated fire safety regulations.
One industry insider said, "CICAF receives applications from participants in March of each year, and last year Chinese organizers refused us citing various reasons, but we faced no barriers this year."
Seven Korean movies have also been invited to this year's Beijing International Film Festival from April 15 to May 22. Last year, no Korean films were shown.
China's imports of Korean films came to a screeching halt when the THAAD row erupted. But now several Korean movies are waiting to be screened there, including blockbusters "Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds" and "The Battleship Island." And Chinese movies "Love Only," starring Big Bang member Seung-ri, and "A Child with No Eyes," starring Hong Soo-ah, opened there last month.
One source in Beijing said, "Both movies didn't do too well at the box office, but the fact that movies featuring Korean celebrities were shown at all demonstrates the changed sentiment."
Chinese authorities started barring Korean entertainers from TV programs and concerts in November 2016 and even prohibited TV ads featuring Korean products. The orders were always delivered verbally and not through official documents.
One Korean contents developer working in China said, "The atmosphere has been changing slowly since President Moon Jae-in's visit to China last year."
But after the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China assumed control of screening foreign movies, TV programs and other contents, Chinese distributors are still taking a cautious approach to importing Korean movies and dramas.
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