Culture

BTS leader irks China, worrying big brands

BTS leader irks China, worrying big brands”

Some netizens on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo applauded the move, with one user commenting "it proves Samsung cares about the Chinese market".

The leader of BTS, known by the initials RM, upset many people in China in a speech when the band received an award from a U.S. -based organization for their contribution to South Korea-U.S. relations. The seven-member K-pop phenomenon made headlines in Korea Monday when local outlets went to town with stories that the group was coming under fire from China for comments that BTS leader RM made as he and his members were receiving a prestigious award during a virtual awards ceremony.

What do you have to say about the ongoing China controversy surrounding BTS? The following are RM's full remarks during the speech, made in English: "The Korea Society 2020 Gala is especially meaningful as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War".

"We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women", said the team leader of BTS after receiving the award, referring to the USA and South Korea.

"There were thousands of Chinese soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the war".

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953, with the North supported by Chinese and Soviet Union troops and the South backed by the American military and the United Nations. The Global Times propaganda outlet, in this context, interpreted RM's remark that the band will "always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together" as an attack on China.

According to Chinese state-run newspaper the Global Times, "Chinese netizens said the band's totally one-sided attitude to the Korean War hurts their feelings and negates history", adding that the comments were created to "play up" to USA audiences.

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The report also talked about the commercial implications of the backlash.

The search term "BTS insults the Chinese" also trended on China's largest social media platform Weibo yesterday.

"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", said an article in the Global Times newspaper, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

BTS-related products were missing this week from the online stores of Samsung Electronics and sports brand FILA on Chinese e-commerce websites including Alibaba Group's TMall and JD.com.

Asked about the controversy, a 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".

As of press time, the band's management company, Big Hit Entertainment, did not immediately respond.



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