South Korean K-pop group BTS faces a backlash in China following a member’s comments about the Korean War.
In a speech, the leader of the group, known as RM, mentioned the “pain story” shared by South Korea with the United States during the 1950-53 conflict, in which the two countries fought together.
But his remarks angered Chinese social media users, as Beijing backed the North in the war.
The controversy also appears to have affected trade agreements.
Ads featuring BTS from companies such as Samsung, sports brand Fila and automaker Hyundai have disappeared from a number of Chinese websites or social media platforms, although it is not known. who deleted them.
K-pop has a large following in China, and BTS – one of the most successful bands – is no different, with at least five million fans on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo.
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RM’s comments come as BTS received an award celebrating the relationship between the United States and South Korea.
“We will always remember the story of the pain our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women,” he said.
But his comments were met with anger in China, with Weibo users noting the losses their country has suffered.
According to the Chinese state newspaper Global Times, “Chinese netizens said the group’s totally one-sided attitude towards the Korean War hurts their feelings and denies the story,” adding that the comments were designed to “play” for the American public.
“They [BTS] shouldn’t be making any money with China, ”an angry user commented on Weibo, according to Reuters news agency.
However, a number of people on Twitter defended the group, noting that RM’s speech did not directly mention China.
Seven-membered BTS are popular around the world and have broken a number of records. Earlier this year, their single Dynamite became the most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours, with 101.1 million views in one day.