Unkind noises from SK could affect normal cultural ties
Published: Jan 12, 2023 12:36 AM
Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

A source in the entertainment industry told the Global Times that several South Korean stars have been approved by Chinese authorities to perform in China in 2023, which is a latest sign of the warming cultural ties between the two countries. But despite this positive trend, there have been a few scholars and organizations publishing biased remarks, stirring up emotions among South Korean netizens and interfering with the friendly process of cultural exchanges.

Some South Korean scholars, though they are very few, have been regularly making up disputes surrounding Chinese and South Korean traditional cultures. 

They usually find baseless faults in China, twist the historical truth and seek to hype the sensitive part of historic ties between the two countries in order to grab attention.

Some organizations with ulterior motives have also taken the opportunity to stir up trouble. 

The internet-based South Korean organization Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK) is a classic example. In February 2022, VANK produced a poster allegedly introducing "Korean New Year" to counter Chinese New Year in the world. 

Such self-congratulatory farce provoked by VANK tried to hype disputes out of nothing. 

These acts have clearly triggered some South Korean netizens, making them ignore the facts of the two nations' cultural exchanges in the history. 

Actually, as the 30th anniversary of establishment of the two countries' diplomatic ties, there have been more and more friendly signs brought about by cultural communications returning to both countries. 

Various Chinese platforms, be they cinemas or online streaming platforms, have become more welcoming to South Korean films and TV shows and dozens of related pieces of content have recently been launched in the Chinese mainland. 

In December 2021, the comedy movie Oh! My Gran became the first South Korean film screened in the Chinese mainland theaters in six years, winning great word of mouth among moviegoers. Films and TV series such as Hotel by the River directed by Hong Sang-soo started broadcasting on several Chinese streaming platforms including Youku and Tencent since early 2022.

Some Chinese TV dramas such as Nothing but Thirty and The Wind Blows from Longxi were or will be aired on South Korean TV stations.

More South Korean stars have been appearing in the Chinese-made variety shows. South Korean singer Jay Park and Tablo attended to the New Year Gala of Bilibili, Chinese video sharing platform hailed by young Chinese people, with stunning performances, celebrating the arriving of 2023 together with Chinese netizens.

Outside of commercial films and TV shows, many other cultural activities jointly held by the two countries have been held. 

The 8th Chinese-Korean Share Your Dream Short Film Festival, jointly held by Chinese and South Korean cultural institutes, opened in August 2022, with five works bagging major awards after a three-month submission and selection process.

Chinese scholars, including Lü Chao, an expert on the Korean Peninsula issue at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that China and South Korea share many similarities in culture due to their geographical proximity and frequent exchanges in ancient times and South Korea has advocated Confucianism and actively studied and absorbed fine Chinese culture.

With the cultural similarities and an ever deeper mutual understanding, Chinese and South Korean people can work together to promote the cultural exchanges for further developing instead of being disturbed. 

More positive exchanges can help form a virtuous circle in two countries' relations, which benefits the two countries' future.