Does China hate BTS? The latest news about the deleted images
Bangtan Boys, the Korean pop band better known as BTS, has a huge fan following. Those are just facts. Their first English single “Dynamite” came out earlier this year and broke several records. The music video for the single logged 450 million views, making it the fastest video by a Korean outfit to reach this milestone, surpassing their counterpart Blackpink.
At the same time, the song led to the boy band dethroning Taylor Swift from the position of the wildest Spotify debut. Her song Cardigan debuted at a record 7.742 million streams within 24 hours, but this record was also outdone by BTS as their single Dynamite hit 7.77 million streams.
BTS has a steady fanbase – referred to as the BTS ARMY, short for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. Their followers have, time & again, made them viral on the internet, helped them break records whenever they perform & have created a steady fan club, too. However, it seems like the K-pop outfit’s not as universally loved all over the world.
In a recent controversy emboldened by Chinese state tabloid Global Times, it was claimed that BTS “hurt the feelings” of China & the Chinese public when they won the James A. Van Fleet Award from The Korea Society in New York. More specifically, the cause of this disgruntlement was the speech made by the boy band member RM.
South Korean boy band #BTS is strongly condemned on #China's social media for their speech after receiving James A. Van Fleet Award. Chinese netizens said the band's totally one-sided attitude to the #KoreanWar hurts their feelings and negates history. pic.twitter.com/NaycIBzJwH
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) October 11, 2020
The seven-member group comprises of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. For context, the James A. Van Fleet Award is awarded to “one or more distinguished Koreans or Americans in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the promotion of U.S.-Korea relations.” The award has been handed out every year since 1995 & is considered a big deal.
RM’s acceptance speech for the award has come under scrutiny. During the acceptance speech, RM started off by mentioning how honored the group was to receive the award & went on to add, “we will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”
He made some open-ended statements which left the room for interpretation & got China riled up, “After 70 years, the world we are living in is much closer than before. Boundaries in many aspects are getting more blurred. As members of the global community, we should build a deeper understanding and solidarity to be happier together.”
It seemed innocuous, but he proceeded to attach BTS to the statement, “In pursuit of this cause, BTS will always remind ourselves of the meaning of the Van Fleet award and keep doing our best in all that we do.” That’s all the provocation Chinese state media needed to start a fire. Soon enough, their images were removed from the Chinese internet as a response.
Fans to the rescue
Fans have been tweeting fervently in support of BTS, as one may expect. One user tweeted, “C-netizens need to get off their high horse here. They were not mentioned because it was about US SK relations and they were also the invading force here. The boys have NOTHING to apologise for. C-netizens need to have a seat.”
C-netizens need to get off their high horse here. They were not mentioned because it was about US SK relations and they were also the invading force here. The biys have NOTHING to apologise for. C-netizens need to have a seat.
— Dee ᴿᴹ ☛ 120 ☚ 💜💙💜💙💜💙 (@namjoonanamcara) October 11, 2020
Another fan pointed out the obvious, too, “They didn’t even mention China, why are people making an issue out of nowhere”
They didn't even mention china, why are people making issue out of nowhere,
— Ekta (@Ekta48672613) October 12, 2020
However, the impact of sour relations was extending on a global scale, as South Korean businesses took a hit in Chinese markets. For example, the newest phone model from Samsung – a limited edition BTS model – was reportedly no longer available at Chinese shopping sites online. It was later claimed that the non-availability was because it had been sold out.