The Chinese member of Everglow drew attention as she didn’t make a big bow in Korean’s New Year greeting but did a Chinese greeting instead.
A fan-signing event for the multinational girl group Everglow was held on January 2nd. Out of 6 members, 5 Korean girls bowed to their fans as a New Year’s greeting. However, Chinese member Wang Yiren (Yiren) stood still alone. She didn’t bow but grabbed her two hands and greeted in Chinese style instead.
After seeing this, Korean and Chinese netizens gave sharply divided responses. Korean netizens poured out criticisms, such as “If you hate doing Korean New Year’s greeting that much, why are you still promoting in Korea?”, “Go back to China”, “Don’t earn money in Korea”. On the other hand, Weibo users commented enthusiastically, saying, “Chinese people don’t kneel down”, “I’m proud of this idol who keeps Chinese traditions”, “You did a great job, Wang Yiren”.
Chinese netizens who supported Everglow Yiren’s action said, “In Chinese tradition, we only kneel down to the heaven, Earth, and our parents”. In this regard, the Chinese newspaper Global Times reported on January 4th, saying, “The Chinese member of a KPOP group is receiving praises for doing traditional Chinese greeting in Korea”.
Earlier, Yiren was caught up in controversies after she agreed with a post about the Xinjiang Cotton Campaign posted by People’s Daily and said that she considered Chinese culture more important. At that time, the Chinese government was suspected of forcibly mobilizing laborers from minority regions, such as Xinjiang, to harvest cotton, leading to a boycott of Xinjiang cotton.
Yiren also said to her Chinese fans at a video call fan signing event to commemorate the release of EVERGLOW’s 2nd mini-album in November 2020, “I love my country more than anyone else. I want to talk in Chinese, but there are restrictions because I work in Korea. The agency told me to be careful,” due to which she was criticized by Korean fans.
Everglow once appeared on South Korea’s National Defense TV channel in 2019 and was seen doing the army salute. However, Yuehua Entertainment, which is Everglow’s Chinese-based agency, was punished by the Chinese authorities.
According to a report by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post in August 2020, EVERGLOW member Yiren is a Chinese national, and her consolation performance in front of the Korean soldier was a problem. After the incident, Yiren created her personal Weibo account and used a photo of the Chinese national flag as her profile picture.