In 2018, there was an incident that is very hard to comprehend in the entertainment industry. BTS was scheduled to appear on the Japanese music program 'Music Station' on TV Asahi. However, the boy group was notified of a sudden cancellation the day before the show. This occurred because of the controversy that erupted when the Japanese media reported that BTS was engaged in anti-Japanese activity, taking issue with the Korean National Liberation Day t-shirt worn by member Jimin and RM's social media post made on the National Liberation Day of Korea.
Jimin had worn a t-shirt that featured a black and white photo of people shouting during Korea's liberation and a nuclear bomb being detonated.
The t-shirt also featured words that showed patriotism to Korea. In 2013, RM posted on Twitter a message saying, "There is no future for a nation that forgets history. I would like to thank the independence activists. Long live Korean independence." on the National Liberation Day of Korea.
Recently, the severe scrutiny of Korean celebrities now spread beyond Japan and to China. Now, Korean pop culture has become the target of Chinese patriotism. This can also be seen as a rebuttal to the expansion of K-pop's influence worldwide. However, it is also hazardous behavior to distort and censor celebrities' general remarks because this can cause conflict between countries.
This year, BTS has been awarded the Van Fleet Award for their contribution to Korea-U.S relations development. During the acceptance speech, leader RM was heavily criticized by Chinese netizens when he stated, "this year marks the Korean War's 70th anniversary. We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared and the sacrifices of the countless men and women". The Chinese netizens have criticized saying that BTS has "ignored Chinese soldiers' noble sacrifices and insulted the Chinese dignity."
The issue with this is that this is not the first time that the Chinese netizens have taken issue with Korean celebrities' actions or remarks by distorting them. In August of this year, singer Lee Hyori was heavily criticized for her joking remark about the name Mao. Chinese netizens launched a barrage of criticisms, taking issue with her remark based on their own standards.
Chinese netizens expressed discontent as they left various malicious comments on Lee Hyori's social media. Since then, Lee Hyori has shut down her social media in which many netizens believe was due to the thousands of malicious comments left.
Now, China's Foreign Ministry is in a hurry to deal with the growing criticisms toward BTS's recent remarks after backlash from South Korea.