21 fan clubs for BTS, Blackpink and other S.Korean stars banned by China’s social media platform Weibo
Published: Sep 06, 2021 02:28 PM
K-pop boy band BTS Photo: AFP

K-pop boy band BTS Photo: AFP

China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo continued suspending the accounts for fan clubs of South Korean major stars from its platform on Sunday, a move that comes as the Chinese government seeks to cool off what it sees as an industry out of control. After suspending a fan club for Jimin, a member of South Korean boy band BTS, on Saturday, the platform followed up with other bans, suspending the accounts of 21 fan clubs of South Korean pop stars and groups including BTS, EXO and Blackpink. 

According to the platform, the accounts were suspended for content that promotes "irrational" support for idols.

The accounts for fan clubs of Lisa and Rose, two members of the girl band Blackpink, and Rap Monster, another BTS member, have been suspended for 30 days. Most of these accounts have millions of followers, such as "Ohsehunbar," a fan club for EXO member Sehun that has more than 4 million followers.

South Korean pop group EXO performs before the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon, South Korea, Sept. 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)

South Korean pop group EXO performs before the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon, South Korea, Sept. 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)

Some fans who are familiar with Chinese fan industry told the Global Times on Monday that these accounts were mainly used to support stars when their new albums debut, promote voting so they can take first place on South Korean music completion shows and carry out fundraisers among fans to increase albums' sales or buy gifts to celebrate a star's birthday.

Although these fans live in an entirely different country than their idols, they actively work to promote these foreign stars and show their love. "As soon as a boy band releases an album, organizers of the fan club begin to call on us to buy as many copies of it as possible," one fan of a boy band from JYP Entertainment told the Global Times.

"If you are saving money by not supporting your idols, how do you dare say you love them?" or "Our idols are badly in need of us. Vote for them each day!" - these fan clubs often post extreme messages such as this to pressure fans to spend their money or time on these stars.

Many netizens have voiced support for the suspensions, with some saying that the punishment was too light.

The origin of the crackdown started with Jimin's fan club, which began attracting a lot of public attention on Sina Weibo on Wednesday. The fan club on Baidu Post Bar announced that it had worked with airline Jeju Air to customize an airplane, with the entire fuselage, cabin and plane tickets customized for the star.   

The fan club reportedly began raising money in April to prepare for the star's 26th birthday in October. After the fundraiser was launched on Baidu Post Bar, it raised more than 1 million yuan ($150,000) in three minutes and 2.3 million yuan in one hour.

The move came after the Cyberspace Administration of China published a notice in August on its website asking provincial offices to heighten their efforts to rectify the chaos of fans' circles and make entertainment-related platforms perform their duties to ward off irrational idol worship.

Most of Chinese social media and video platforms such as Sina Weibo and Tencent have actively responded the notice and cleaned up harmful contents.