Record-breaking South Korean boyband BTS is facing a backlash in China over remarks their leader made about the Korean War.
The comments came after the K-pop group received an award celebrating cooperation between the US and South Korea.
In his acceptance speech, RM, real name Kim Nam-joon, said “We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women.”
He was alluding to the Korean War, when allies the US and South Korea fought against North Korea and China in the early 1950s, in which hundreds of thousands were killed.
His remarks have angered Chinese social media users, reported Reuters news agency.
BTS has legions of fans in China with at least five million on China’s popular social media platform Weibo, and they all seem to have noticed that RM did not mention China’s Korean war dead.
“BTS should not make any money from China,” one user commented on Weibo. “If you want to make money from Chinese fans you have to consider Chinese feelings.”
Samsung hurriedly stripped BTS-related products from its official stores on Chinese e-commerce platforms, to protect its bottom line in China.
“That proves Samsung cares about the Chinese market,” wrote one Sina Weibo user.
Other companies doing business in China also withdrew any references to BTS, including the sports fashion brand FILA and carmaker Hyundai, from their official Weibo accounts.
The Chinese state-run Global Times, commented: “Chinese netizens said the band’s totally one-sided attitude to the Korean War hurts their feelings and negates history, and are just designed to “play up” to US audiences.”