Chinese netizens criticized BTS’s statement, claiming that the group “bite the hands that feed them”.
On October 11, the video recording the speech when BTS received the James A. Van Fleet award since August suddenly became a hot topic on Chinese social networks, ranking 3rd on the hot search. BTS received harsh criticism, even threatened to boycott because of leader RM’s speech. RM said :”We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together, and the sacrifices of countless men and women. RM‘s part of the speech referred to 2020 being the 70 year anniversary of the Korean War, and honored those who sacrificed their lives to help South Korea separate from North Korea. However, Chinese netizens have an issue with this statement because hundreds of thousands of Chinese lives were also lost in the Korean War.
The Korean War, started in 1950, was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations, principally from the United States). When the US attacked Pyongyang, Chinese forces of the People’s Volunteer Army entered the war to support North Korea. The main supporting force for North Korea in this war was China and the limited supply from the Soviet Union.
Chinese fans always contribute a lot of money to BTS activities. The album sales of ‘MAP OF THE SOUL 7’ in China is about 790,000 copies, meaning that Chinese fans have contributed 64 million RMB to BTS’s comeback. Jimin’s Chinese fandom announced a total of 20 projects to celebrate his birthday. V’s fandom also raised about 6.4 million RMB to celebrate the idol’s birthday. However, BTS is being criticized for making money from fans, but taking actions that hurt China.
Chinese netizens believe that BTS are singers, so they should not express their political views. EM’s statement is said to have “touched national pride”, many comments propose to boycott BTS from the Chinese market. BTS’s reputation is being affected. Many Chinese fans say they are disappointed by RM’s words and have decided to leave the fandom. From now on, they no longer buy products of BTS nor support Korean artists because of political differences.