China Purges Korean Entertainment, Possibly Due to U.S. Missile System

Members of K-Pop idol group Girls' Generation perform during the Korean Pop Culture and Art Awards at the Olympic Hall in Seoul November 21, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

Variety reports that China has undertaken a sudden and thorough purge of Korean entertainment, possibly to retaliate against South Korea for accepting the deployment of an American THAAD missile defense system or possibly as “a protectionist measure against the overwhelming success of Korean content in China.”

In recent weeks, Korean talent was removed from Chinese television drama productions, and K-pop stars were blurred or edited out on Chinese variety shows. Fan events and concerts in China were canceled. Korean producers told Variety that their Chinese partners have received verbal notices from China’s Film Bureau regarding possible restrictions on Korea-China co-productions.

This is bad news for Korean entertainers. Variety reports that pop music companies have “already seen their stock values decline sharply on the stock exchange,” while distribution companies worried about the loss of pre-sale financing from Chinese consumers, and the loss of co-production status for Korean movies could see them kept out of China by that country’s strict quota on foreign films.

In early August, Chinese censors more-or-less officially confirmed that some of the bans were intended as reprisals for South Korea’s agreement to allow deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system, which in turn is only necessary because of China’s psychotic client state, North Korea, keeps defying international law to develop nuclear ballistic missiles.

Chosun also assumed the bans were primarily retaliation for THAAD when reporting last weekend on the 32.9 percent loss in stock value suffered by 18 top Korean show business figures over the past year. Chosun argued that since most of the stocks held by these entertainers and managers are in their own agencies, their losses could be seen as a fairly direct consequence of Chinese censorship.