Bangtan Boys Face Chinese Backlash over Korean War Remarks

  • By Oh Rora

    October 13, 2020 11:06

    Chinese online warriors are peeved at remarks by a member of super boy band Bangtan Boys, also known as BTS, at an award ceremony promoting Korean-American relations.

    The group's leader RM said in a videotaped acceptance speech at the General James A. Van Fleet Award, which was established in memory of a U.S. general in the Korean War by the Korea Society, "We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations share together and sacrifices of countless men and women."

    The state-run daily Global News on Monday complained that the speech "reflected a one-sided attitude" that "has enraged Chinese netizens as many Chinese fans decide to quit the band's fan club."

    "Many Chinese netizens pointed out that the speech plays up to U.S. netizens, but the country played the role of aggressor in the war," it added.

    They had complained that RM ignored the estimated 1 million Chinese soldiers who were also killed or injured in the 1950-1953 war. Unfortunately they fought on the side of North Korea, which started the war.

    But Chinese history textbooks do not mention that inconvenient fact and only teach that China helped the North by resisting U.S. attacks.

    Once the storm in a teacup escalated, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and FILA removed BTS from their advertisements in China. They are apparently wary of a repeat of the 2017 Chinese boycott of Korean goods and services over the U.S.' stationing of a Terminal High-Altitude Defense Area battery here.

    But the Chinese government is so far staying above the fray. Asked about the kerfuffle, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters on Monday, "I want to say that we all should learn lessons from history, look forward to the future, hold dear peace and strengthen friendship." 

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