Following K-pop star Sulli's death, Hong Kong fans hope entertainment industry reflects on what it asks of performers

TRIGGER WARNING: this story contains themes related to death that may be upsetting to sensitive readers

Nicola Chan |

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Sulli, the K-pop singer and actress, was found dead by her manager at her home in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. 

The 25-year-old’s cause of death remains uncertain as investigation is still ongoing. According to AFP, authorities said there were no evidence of foul play, and that suicide was one of the possible causes. 

Authorities added that the former member and founder of the K-pop group f(x), who had long been the target of online bullying, had been suffering from “severe depression”. 

The news shocked and upset fans of the Korean pop star, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, and who was best known for her frank and feminist persona.

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Sha Tin College student Leanne Jackson told Young Post that she was “very shocked” when she learned of the death of Sulli, a performer whose music and style challenged the norms surrounding Kpop girl groups, and one who had an early influence over her interest in K-pop. 

 “She meant a lot to me, and I still cannot believe that she could’ve killed herself,” the 16-year-old said. “I refuse to believe she gave up on us, her fans.” 

Leanne added that there is a pressing need for people in the K-pop entertainment industry to reflect on the existing conventions and expectations on the artists, which has already cost at least one human life. She was referring to the late K-pop singer Kim Jong-hyun’s, the former lead singer of the band SHINee, who died in December 2017

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“The K-pop community really needs to sit down and think seriously about what this industry is [demanding from the stars], causing all this pain and loss.”

Junior Reporter Eunice Yip, 19, shared similar sentiments. The Hong Kong Shue Yan University student admitted to Young Post that she had cried upon hearing the news yesterday. 

“It is so saddening and I am really sorry for the loss [of life]... Although I didn’t know her personally, I feel like I do because I have been a fan since the start of f(x),” she said. 

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Eunice recalled that Sulli did a lot of live broadcasts after she left the girls’ group, talking about how she had been cyberbullied, and asking netizens why they hated her for taking her own path and staying true to herself. 

“She even cried on TV without speaking… She publicly sought help and said she was lonely, [but] no one cared for her,” she said. 

Eunice added that people ought to be more aware of the harmful consequences of online bullying.

“It is not fun, and it hurts people… We shouldn’t treat others the way we don’t want to be treated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, there are many resources available to help you: