Korea Times

Korean entertainment industry falls victim to Korea-China diplomatic row

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is proving to have a negative rollover effect on the mainland activities of Korean entertainment stars and TV series

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 11:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 11:14am

By Kim Jae-heun

China has strengthened its regulations against Korean stars performing on the mainland and appearing on TV series in retaliation to Korea’s continued pledge to deploy a U.S. missile defense system in the country.

Cheong Wa Dae and the U.S. agreed to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in Korea in July and are showing no signs of withdrawing the plan despite strong criticism from the Chinese government. Beijing has decided to ban hallyu, or the Korean wave, in its territory.

According to a report from China’s culture ministry on Tuesday, no Korean singer has been approved to perform in the country since October.

Industry sources said no Korean stars have performed in China not only because people are discouraged to organise concerts there and the number of applications has decreased but also because some applications have been turned down by the Chinese government.

“We are to ban all Korean entertainment programmes under the new guideline that came down from the government,” said an official from ENT Group, a Chinese media and entertainment company. “Programmes that have been approved by reviews and meet the official guidelines of entertainment programmes have been excluded.”

A Chinese entertainment corporation has been reportedly fined 17 million won (US$14,460) for pushing ahead with a Korean idol group concert that had not been approved by the Chinese government, and it was ordered to refund ticket buyers double the original ticket price. The entertainment company invited the Korean group and began selling tickets a month before the concert but the Chinese government refused to confirm the show.

Another industry source said any concert not approved by the Chinese government will be cancelled and the promoter will be fined and lose its license to host concerts if it ignores government warnings. He added that all responsibility, too, will be put on the promoter for any problems in refunding the tickets.

Chinese entertainment shows starring Korean celebrities, or shows produced by Korean directors or funded by Korean investors, are said to face the same situation.

Chinese daily newspaper Huanqiu Shibao cited that the government’s ban includes Korean product commercials on TV.

No official announcement has been made by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which supervises all TV programmes in China, but allegations abound that high-ranking officials at TV stations have been told to ban any content related to hallyu.

Chinese media outlets also predicted it will be very difficult to spot Koreans on Chinese TV.

Meanwhile, Seoul has taken further steps to worsen the case by negotiating for the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. The deal allows both governments to directly exchange military intelligence to better cope with North Korea’s growing threats.

However, some experts argue that Japan’s original intention behind the intelligence trade deal is to receive information on China and Russia through the U.S THAAD system that is expected to be deployed in Korea within eight to 10 months, according to the commander of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) Gen. Vincent K. Brooks. Both the U.S. and South Korean government said the system will only be used to monitor North Korea, but China refutes that THAAD can be used to spy on the Chinese mainland.

Recently 16 Korean cultural imports have been disapproved by the Chinese government. Sixteen other TV programmes, such as SBS’s historical drama series “Saimdang, Light’s Diary” starring Lee Young-ae and tvN’s “The K2” are still undergoing review with the Chinese government.