BTS recently accepted the James A. Van Fleet Award, given out by The Korea Society to ‘figures or organizations that have contributed to the Korea-U.S. relationship.’
While reading through their acceptance speech, it’s unlikely you or I would find much objectionable as it seems relatively standard, but Chinese state media and netizens felt insulted by it and it led to growing backlash against the group.
Mainly, they seemed to object to RM’s portion off the speech in which he mentions the Korean War and Korea/US relations.
RM wrapped up the speech in English. He stated, “The Korea Society’s 2020 Annual Gala is especially meaningful, as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women. 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. 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. Thank you very much.”
While state-run media is one thing, Weibo did have a bunch of angry netizens.
“China sacrificed 360,000 soldiers”
“Get out of China”
“Why are idols revealing their political stance publicly…”
“Didn’t these fans feel amazing when they were insulting other celebrities? It turns out that the idols they stan are people who insult the Chinese
“Leave. BTS is dead”
“This related content recommendation makes me sad. Don’t stop the hallyu ban.” (The content talks about someone that helped the Chinese assist North Korea in the Korean War and the hardships they went through)
“Fans should pay $250 and renounce their Chinese nationality before defending them. Don’t forget which country you’re from just because you’re idolizing celebrities.”
Samsung and FILA responded by taking down BTS content in response.
Chinese netizens continue to push for an apology from BTS and Big Hit Entertainment. Hopefully they don’t get it, as it’s a farcical reach to conclude that anything he said was insulting to China (especially since he didn’t mention China), as if he needed to thank (or appreciate) those who were fighting against his country while accepting an award revolving around Korea/US relations named after a Korean War commander for the 70th anniversary of that war.