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BTS faces backlash from Chinese fans over Van Fleet Award speech

BTS faces backlash from Chinese fans over Van Fleet Award speech

Posted October. 13, 2020 07:46,   

Updated October. 13, 2020 07:46


World-famous K-pop band BTS has come under fire in China for not acknowledging China alongside South Korea and the United States in its acceptance speech.

BTS was given the “Van Fleet Award” by The Korea Society. The U.S. non-profit organization has given to individuals and groups that promoted the U.S.-South Korean relations since 1995 to honor James Van Fleet, Commander of the U.S. Eighth Army who fought in the Korean War. It has been awarded to former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War,” said RM, the leader of the South Korean group, accepting the award. “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women.” His remarks have angered Chinese media and Internet users.

The Global Times reported on Monday that Chinese online users were enraged by the mention of “the history of pain that our two nations shared together.” Some commented that the Korean boy band dismissed the noble sacrifices made by Chinese soldiers during the Korean War and that the acceptance speech ignored the American invasion and Asia’s interference on popular news portal websites.

The Korean War is called the “war against the United States to assist North Korea” in China. Amid escalating tensions between the United States and China, Beijing is emphasizing the “sprit of helping North Korea against the United States,” which implies nationalism, patriotism and heroism to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war. This possibly explains the angry reaction of Chinese fans to BTS’s speech.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com