Korean chaebol Lotte had handed over land it owned to the South Korean government and this land will be used to construct the THAAD missile defense system. As of March 8, a total of 55 stores in China have been closed and more are being added to the list.
Furthermore, it appears protests have broken out in China demanding things related to Korea leave the country as well as boycotting various products and entertainment. Students, cab drivers, and workers from other backgrounds have led the upheaval. From banning popular Korean dramas/variety shows from airing on national television, canceling celebrity performances to refusing to eat Korean BBQ or kimchi, China seems to be in a frenzy following the political decision.
However, some are still in favor of Korea, a 29-year-old named Zhang who is an avid fan of BTS commented, "These stars are just for entertainment, they don't want to engage in politics." While others expressed frustration with the ban, "I've been hijacked of my patriotism," said Dong.
A poem seems to be circulating on social media websites pertaining to the Lotte riots illustrating the emotional distress caused by the event:
In the morning I hate America,
At noon I hate Korea,
In the evening, I hate Japan.
When I don't I have a lot of time, I squeeze in hate for Taiwan and Singapore.
At night when I dream, I hate Vietnam and the Philippines.
Despite the political scandal in Seoul, it seems some people in China still want to hold hands with South Korea. However, at the same time, they are expecting South Korea to dismiss the missile defense system as it may cause havoc on China overall.
Ironically, this year also marks the 25th-anniversary of relations between China and South Korea. Nonetheless, there is a clear division at the moment.