Foreign trainees in ‘Chuang2021’ face boycott after their agencies overseas embroiled in a controversy concerning China’s national sovereignty
Published: Mar 31, 2021 05:59 PM
Photo: Sina Weibo

Photo: Sina Weibo

Chinese netizens are calling for five foreign trainees taking part in the hit Chinese variety show Chuang 2021 to “get off the show” after entertainment agencies Avex Group in Japan and RBW in South Korea became embroiled in a controversy concerning China’s national sovereignty.  

The related hashtags to RBW and Avex Group began trending on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Wednesday as many people expressed their anger at the agencies by calling for their trainees to be kicked off Chuang 2021

“Get off the show! We are Chinese before we are fans. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and inviolable,” one Chinese netizen commented on Sina Weibo. 

The controversy began on Tuesday when a snapshot of an article on Avex Group’s official website began spreading across the Chinese internet. The snapshot shows that the article had mislabeled the island of Taiwan as a “country” and contained the description: “Taiwan is a pro-Japanese country.” 

Later on Tuesday, South Korea’s RBW issued a statement on both Sina Weibo and Instagram that read: “Our company has consistently adhered to the one-China Principle.”However, the post was quickly deleted from both platforms and followed up by an apology Tuesday night: “A post has been uploaded with content not discussed with us. Sorry for the confusion. ”
The deletion and the new statement quickly aroused the anger of Chinese netizens, many of whom questioned, “Do you need to have a discussion to adhere to the one-China principle?” 

By Wednesday morning, Chinese netizens were calling for both agencies’ trainees to be removed from the current season of Chuang 2021

“Chinese people will not tolerate an entertainment agency overseas that plans to do business in China but does not adhere to the one-China policy,” Shi Wenxu, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Avex Group released an apology on Sina Weibo, explaining that it had deleted the description of Taiwan on its website. It explained that the article in question was written by a government official in 2018, who did not represent the political stance of the company. 

As to RBW, it has yet to issue a further statement. 

According to Shi, RBW may have wanted to express its support of the one-China policy to win the hearts of Chinese fans because the South Korean entertainment industry is highly reliant on China. However, the fear of a blowback from their business partners, such as shareholders in the US, may have caused them to delete the supportive post. 

“As far as I know, many famous South Korean entertainment companies have a close relationship with the Wall Street. Some of them are controlled by the financial magnates in the US,” said Shi.

According to reports RBW represents one trainee on Chuang 2021, while Avex Group represents four others.

“If an overseas company wants to expand its business in other countries, it is essential to conduct research on the country’s political, economic, cultural, and social situations to avoid possible business risks, and obviously, the two companies failed here,” Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

“They need to be cautious once they decide to speak up,” said Xiao.