Thursday, April 20, 2017

What's Up with China's Korean Ban?

By Asia Pop Culture

Beijing has issued a “Korean restriction order” as a retaliation after South Korea granted land for Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system deployment to U.S. military.

Wikipedia explains that THAAD is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system which is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.

China has been vocal about its opposition to THAAD and has claimed the system's powerful radar could be used to monitor its military.  Beijing's military is reportedly building a new missile defense unit against THAAD.

From TV dramas to fried chicken, South Korean products are popular among young people in China, earning the S. Korea a record $5.3 billion in 2014 exports. even though Chinese citizens apparently love Korean culture, they have expressed support for the government’s tough stance.  China is in effect throwing around its purchasing and economic power to show who's the boss in Asia.

Korean TV shows and K-pop music videos have been blocked from streaming in China.  South Korean culture is a big deal among Chinese young people from fashion, cosmetics, music, food, to TV shows and defines what's cool among  young people.  Even so, Chinese citizens expressed support for Beijing's harsh stance.  Some netizens s have posted about boycotting Korean beauty products.

Quite a few Korean celebrities have already canceled tours or commercial events in China. To counter China's ban, many big Korean entertainment companies and K-pop stars are avoiding China altogether and trying to diversify into other Asian regional markets.  “Korean Wave” (韓流 or “Hallyu”) has already swept Southeast Asian countries, so it is not hard for South Korea to make that switch at all.

China previously being the focus, now K-pop stars are targeting the Southeast Asian market.  For example, although EXO, a K-pop boy band hugely popular in China, canceled two concerts in August in Shanghai, the group just held a concert in Taipei Taiwan last November, three more concerts in Malaysia last month, and just finished another show in Singapore this month.  Another K-pop boy group Super Junior already has huge fan base throughout Asia.

The question remains if the rest of Asia will make up for the loss from China's "Korean restriction order" and how long this "ban" will last.  For now, let's enjoy an MV, Growl performed by EXO to appreciate the K-pop craze in Asia.  

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