“China went up against a K-pop giant – and it lost. China picked a fight with an enemy it can’t beat.” This was The Washington Post’s verdict on Chinese state media and Internet users’ attempt to denounce BTS for mentioning the Korean War in their James A. Van Fleet Award acceptance speech.
The Washington Post attributed the attack to the fears Chinese authorities have about K-pop’s growing influence in the country. It also said that China underestimated the global influence of the K-pop band that has the biggest fandom across the world, adding that even China cannot “bash BTS” as at least several million members of their fandom called “ARMY” are Chinese.
It said Chinese ARMY managed to buy 220,000 copies of the latest BTS album even when China imposed an embargo on South Korean commodities in 2016 in retaliation for THAAD, which brought all the promotional activities of the Korean boy band to a halt in China.
“From a cultural standpoint, Beijing made a deeply unwise decision. As the demand for Korean pop culture increases around the world, China’s image continues to suffer,” The Washington Post stated. “When the old guard and red guard go up against a group of dazzling young men, it’s not difficult to see who the younger generation would choose to alight with.”