China has officially announced that there have been no orders to ban BTS products in the country. Chinese diplomats refuted claims that BTS, South Korean K-pop group's comments have led to tension between the two countries. Clearing the air about China's custom officers not clearing Bangtan Boys [BTS] merchandise in the country, diplomats stressed that there was no ban and said that there was peace and friendship between the two countries.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian addressed a media briefing in Beijing in this regard and said that the Chinese customs and other government departments have not issued any such policy. "Our position of supporting and promoting friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Korea remains unchanged, and we don't want similar irresponsible reports and comments to interfere with the relations between the two countries," Zhao said.
What Led to Controversy?
The issue turned into controversy as China's most popular social media forum Weibo had comments stating that China's custom officers were not clearing any BTS-related products into the city. One of the posts by a China-Korea goods forwarding service companies had stated that it would not be able to take deliveries for BTS-related goods.
Reacting to the same, Chinese officials have said that action will be taken against those refusing to bring BTS-related products. According to Koreaboo reports, Jang Ha Sung, an official at the Chinese embassy confirmed that Chinese shipping companies have not stopped the delivery and import of BTS goods.
Following the official announcement, remarks made by the goods service provider company have been taken down from the social media. The China ARMY [BTS fans are called ARMY] that was worried about not being able to receive their favorite idols' merchandise after rumors started spreading on social media, can now heave a sigh of relief.
The reason that caused confusion among the netizens about China-South Korean relations is BTS members' acceptance speech of the Van Feet Award given by a non-profit organization in the U.S. "We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifice of countless men and women," BTS member RM had said.
Chinese netizens took offence to this and said that the speech was insulting Chinese soldiers as BTS members did not mention the sacrifices made by tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers during the Korean War. Thus, the discussion on Weibo began where netizens stated that BTS should not be allowed to profit from China if it cannot respect the sacrifices made by the Chinese soldiers.
Here is BTS' Van Fleet Award acceptance speech:
Lee Hyori Incident
This led to the rumors of BTS merchandise being banned in China as retaliation. But the issue has been cleared now and the ban has been proved to be a false claim and there is no truth in it. Chinese netizens have in earlier instances too criticized and tried to ban South Korean artistes following controversies.
Recently, in August, Korean singer Lee Hyori of Kpop group Refund Expedition took part in the reality show Hangout with Yoo. While speaking about her musical activities with the show's host, comedian Yoo Jae-suk, she was asked about her stage name as a Refund Expedition member. She answered it by saying, "What about a Chinese name? We can go global with it. How about 'Mao'?"
Chinese netizens took offence to that and said that she had belittled and insulted Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Singer ended up receiving more than 100,000 negative comments in two days. But finally, South Korean fans came to her rescue and tried to ease the situation by saying that the singer didn't mean to insult anyone and that she had not referred to Chinese leader Mao Zedong.