Decade-long South Korean reality show ‘Running Man’ angered Chinese netizens for sovereign problem, removed from China’s streaming site

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/7 14:08:40

The South Korean variety show 'Running Man' held the ninth anniversary in 2019. Photo: VCG

An episode of Running Man, the long-running South Korean reality show, has been removed from Chinese streaming and video sharing platform Bilibili after it caused a controversy by placing China and the island of Taiwan on equal footing in the latest episode. The controversy has Chinese netizens calling for a boycott of the show.

The hashtag "Running Man" began trending on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo after the episode was uploaded on Monday morning, it quickly earned more than 1.5 billion views in just a few hours.

Many Chinese netizens began posting screenshots of the offending section of the show. In these screenshots, the Chinese national flag and the "flag of Taiwan" can be clearly seen sitting side by side on a Monopoly-style game board. "Beijing" appears above the Chinese national flag, while "Taiwan" is above the other.

"Running Man had been my source of happiness on Mondays since I was in junior high school. Now I am a sophomore, but I have to say goodbye to it. This is an issue that crosses the line for all Chinese people," one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

"I thought that this common knowledge was something that did not need to be spoken about again and again, but I was wrong. It must be emphasized that Taiwan has always been a part of China. No one can challenge that," another netizen commented.

Lots of Chinese netizens expressed outrage and said they would not watch the show anymore. Others said they felt sorry for the show's hosts, who have been friendly toward Chinese fans, as the responsibility for the incident lies with the production team who created the board.  

One of the hosts, Song Ji-Hyo had just recently joined Bilibili. On November 24, she uploaded a message greeting Chinese fans.

Internet controversies have been frequently occurring between China and South Korea in recent months. From South Korean boy band BTS to girl band Blackpink, their improper comments and behaviors had crossed the red line that Chinese netizens can tolerate, while arguments between netizens of both countries have sprung up concerning the origin of traditional clothing and even pickled cabbage or paocai.


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