Victoria and Other Kpop Idols Swept Up in South China Sea Controversy

Last night, an international court in Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines regarding the country’s ongoing dispute with China over posession of territory in the South China Sea.

The Philippine government brought the case against China in reaction to China’s consistent intrusion into the maritime territory and unbudging claims that the country had historic rights to the area.

The dispute has affected multiple countries in the Southeast Asia region, as China has been illegally fishing off the coasts of Korea and Vietnam, and even violently raiding boats at sea from the other countries.

The ruling in favor of the Philippines last night has been rejected by the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping, and has sparked controversy in the Southeast Asian region whose ripples are now being felt in the Kpop community.

Many Kpop groups in Korea have Chinese members, and some of them have been quite vocal about the ruling.

Late last night, f(x) member Victoria posted a picture to her Instagram of China with the “Nine-Dash-Line” indicating the country’s extended maritime border, along with the caption “China cannot become one bit smaller.”

The f(x) member’s post has received mixed reactions ranging from patriotic support to absolute fury from the international fan community.

Many have noticed that in the picture, Taiwan is also looped into the Nine-Dash-Line, implying that Taiwan is a part of mainland China and eliciting reactions from f(x) fans who noted that fellow member Amber is Taiwanese-American.

The Korean media has noted that other Chinese idols including miss A member Fei and FIESTAR member Cao Lu have also uploaded similar comments onto their Weibo pages, but as the vast majority of Weibo users are Chinese, their comments are being met with more support than backlash, as international fans don’t tend to (and in fact often cannot) use the platform.

EXO member Lay has also just changed his Instagram profile picture to the same image of China with the Nine-Dash-Line that Victoria uploaded earlier, showing his opposition to the ruling as well.

Meanwhile, other Chinese and even non-Chinese Kpop idols are being pressured into making comments. GOT7 member Jackson‘s Weibo account is reportedly being flooded with comments demanding that he make a statement on the issue.

Even Girls’ Generation‘s Yoona, who is not Chinese but actively promotes in China, is being hounded on her Instagram by fans demanding to know her political allegiance.

Although there is a great deal of agressive commenting happening, there is also an overwhelming amount of fans from all over the world (including and especially from the affected Southeast Asian regions) declaring their love and support for all of the Kpop idols despite their political opinions.

This is not the first time that Chinese political controversy has affected Kpop. Earlier this year, TWICE member Tzuyu was thrust into the spotlight when she was made to apologize for having a Taiwanese flag in her dorm room. 

While Kpop idols don’t often voice their opinions on political issues, when they do, it has a major impact not only on their fans, but on regional policy as a whole. The involvement of Kpop idols in politics is a sticky subject, and one that has increasingly been brought to media attention.

There is no doubt that as the composition of Kpop groups continues to diversify, these sort of political issues will only become more prominent.

 

Source: CNN, eDaily, Victoria’s Instagram

Images courtesy of Victoria’s Instagram
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