Wang Yi-ren (22 years old), a Chinese member of the group EVERGLOW, has again been embroiled in controversy over her Chinese greeting. She has created similar controversies several times in the past, leading to criticism from netizens.
On January 2nd, EVERGLOW held a fan signing event in Korea where the members delivered New Year’s greetings to fans. While other members of Korean nationality gave a deep bow, Yiren, a Chinese, stood still and greeted in a Chinese way by grabbing her fist.
This image was spread online, sparking controversy among Korean and Chinese netizens.
Chinese people are known to have a tradition of kneeling only to the sky, earth, and parents. In response, Chinese netizens praised Wang Yi-ren‘s behavior for keeping the tradition. These netizens also mentioned Chinese celebrities who knelt down and those who did not, reflecting on the deeds of Chinese celebrities active in Korea.
In addition, the Chinese state-run Global Times also introduced, “Wang Yi-ren’s behavior received a lot of praise from (Chinese) netizens.”
On the other hand, Korean netizens criticized Wang Yi-ren‘s behavior. There have been a series of critical reactions such as “Why make money in Korea when you hate Korean culture,” “Shouldn’t you follow Roman law when you go to Rome?” and “Go back to China.”
Wang Yi-ren‘s controversy that was related to China in the past has also been put back to the spotlight. Wang Yi-ren has reportedly been embroiled in similar controversies several times earlier.
In November 2020, Wang Yi-ren held a video fan meeting with Chinese fans and said, “I love my country (China) more than anyone else, and I’m very proud that I’m Chinese. I am trying to promote our Chinese culture in Korea to the fullest extent I can. I also want to talk in Chinese everywhere, but the company is giving me caution,” drawing criticism from Korean fans.
She also changed her Weibo profile picture to the Chinese national flag and put the flag next to her official ID, showing her patriotism.
In March 2021, her post supporting the Chinese government’s action in Xinjiang caused controversy again. Xinjiang is a place where controversy over forced labor and human rights violations has been raised, and Western countries and some companies have boycotted China because of this. However, Wang Yi-ren was criticized for posting on her SNS saying, “I support Xinjiang cotton,” and many asked for her to be kicked out of the Korean entertainment industry.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the issue did not become a big topic due to EVERGLOW‘s relatively low popularity. Just like that time, this time the group’s agency, Yuehua Entertainment, also seems to be covering the controversy and has not make any official statement.