Amid controversy over singer Henry, who was recently selected as a police PR ambassador, opinions continued on his situation in China.
Henry, a Hong Kong-Canadian singer, has recently been enthusiastic about his activities in China. He appeared wearing a Chinese flag mask or appeared as a regular guest of a program that introduced the Korean fan dance as a traditional Chinese dance, which led to him being caught up in controversy over his pro-China tendency.
Henry was selected as an ambassador for the school violence prevention campaign at Mapo Police Station in Seoul on Mar 15th. This led to a tremendous backlash among Korean netizens. With the release of his apology written in poor Korean, controversy intensified as the posts he left in fluent Korean in the past drew attention as well.
His agency said, “Henry has been devoted to music all his life, which is why he still has many unfamiliar and lacking areas. We are sorry for causing confusion with his inaccurate notation and expression. We have been happily interacting with everyone living in our time beyond nationality and will not lose that value in the future.”
Why does Henry, who has not been active in Korea since the end of 2020, suddenly begin working in Korea again?
First of all, the new regulations that have recently been sweeping the Chinese entertainment industry are drawing attention. It’s called the ‘Rectification Movement’. Rectification Movement refers to the political and cultural movement that has been originally carried out within the Communist Party of China from 1942 to correct the so-called ‘wrong trends’.
Recently, China carried out a 2021 political movement to solve controversies over tax evasions and various scandals of celebrities. In general, regulations such as banning the celebrities who committed illegal acts to appear on broadcast, prohibiting excessive entertaining pursuit and high performance fees. While the regulation was in progress under the name of the 14th Five-year Plan for the Development of Chinese Dramas, the document which was leaked on China’s online platforms, such as Weibo, in August last year sparked controversies.
This document was related to the “national restrictions” issued by the National Radio and Television Administration, stating that broadcasting stations will restrict the appearance of foreign stars. In particular, the plan is to restrict Chinese stars living in foreign countries from returning to China to make money. A total of 7 names were mentioned, including Jet Li, Liu Yifei, Nicholas Tse, Wilber Pan, Wang Leehom, Mark Chao, and Zhang Tielin.
Although it is not officially known, this seems to be aimed at the wary of the Chinese about foreigners who make financial gains under the guise of patriotism. In addition, the “Drama Production Standards” issued by the Chinese broadcasting regulatory authorities in December last year included a requirement to indicate the nationality of foreign actors when introducing performers and staff at the beginning and end of dramas. Nationality labeling was originally a custom in China, but now it has become completely official.
The reason for Henry’s sudden return to Korea is unknown. Netizens who saw this commented, “Why don’t you go to Canada?”, “Do you hate your Chinese nationality?” and “I don’t want to see you.”
In particular, in Henry’s apology statement, “If there is anyone who is not comfortable with my nationality, I really don’t know what to do with that” became the subject of criticism. This is because it can be read as saying that Koreans are racist. This controversy in Korea is already known in China, and posts saying “Korea is racist” are spreading.