Fears are growing in South Korea that China’s loveaffair with its vibrant pop culture is on the waneamid rising tensions between the two countries over Seoul’s planned deployment of a US anti-ballistic missile system.
Concern over the country’s popular cultural exports — known across Asia as the Korean Waveor Hallyu — has increased in recent weeks.
A number of Korean actors and singers cancelled promotional events in China — Korea’s largestexport destination for its dramas, music and films — “for reasons beyond their control”. Themoves have prompted sharp falls in shares in leading Korean entertainment companies.
“I’ve seen signs of our cultural exports facing a barrier in China as provincial governmentsand private companies try to read Beijing’s mind, although there has been no direct order fromBeijing to block bilateral cultural exchanges,” said Kim Jae-hong, vice-chairman of the state-runKorea Communications Commission.
由韩国政府运营的韩国广播通信委员会(Korea Communications Commission, KCC)副主席Kim Jae-hong表示：“我看到有迹象显示，我们的文化出口在中国面临障碍，原因是中国各省政府和民企试图解读中央政府的意志——尽管北京方面并未直接下令封杀双边文化交流。”
The concerns come as China’s state-run media continue to warn that Beijing could launcheconomic retaliation against South Korea over its decision last month to deploy the terminalhigh-altitude air defence platform, or Thaad, despite China’s strong opposition.
“It is certain that the Korean Wave or Hallyu will inevitably feel the chill in China if Seoul sticksto the Thaad deployment, further intensifying political tensions in the bilateral relationship,”China’s Global Times said last week. “By then, there will be no need for any official order as TVstations that broadcast South Korean dramas will be resisted by Chinese citizens.”
Last weekend, two Korean actors, Kim Woo-bin and Bae Suzy, who co-star in the popularKorean soap opera Uncontrollably Fond, had to postpone an appearance in China at the lastminute, while two popular Korean bands have cancelled appearances on Chinese TV shows andat promotional events.
上周末，曾联合主演高人气韩剧《任意依恋》(Uncontrollably Fond)的两名韩国演员金宇彬(Kim Woo-bin)和裴秀智(Bae Suzy)，不得不在最后关头推迟了在中国的出场。与此同时，两支高人气韩国乐队也已取消了在中国电视节目和宣传活动的出场。
Talent agencies YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment have seen theirshare prices slide by more than 15 per cent over the past month, while CJ E & M, thecountry’s biggest entertainment producer, has lost 8.6 per cent of its market value.
在过去一个月里，经纪公司YG娱乐(YG Entertainment)、SM娱乐(SM Entertainment)及JYP娱乐(JYPEntertainment)的股价下滑逾15%，而韩国最大的娱乐业制作商CJ E&M市值缩水8.6%。
Tourism businesses are also concerned about the potential impact of the Thaad deployment.China has recently toughened visa rules for Korean business people and Beijing has cancelledthe licence of a visa broker that specialised in assisting Koreans with applications.
Last month, China’s Qingdao city government cancelled its participation in a Korean foodfestival, citing the “ill timing given the current diplomatic atmosphere”.
Wang Junsheng, a north-east Asia studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Science,said: “Chinese society’s positive attitude towards South Korea is the base for the KoreanWave. The deployment of Thaad destroys this affection base.”