K-Pop culture has suffered from China’s authorities’ arbitrary censorship, known for their “If I do it, it’s a romance, if others do it, it’s adultery” approach.
On the 1st, the Weibo account of BLACKPINK’s Lisa in China was closed. Multiple local media sources reported that the reason for the closure was Lisa’s recent appearance in a ’19+ adult show’ in Paris, France.
Currently, when accessing Lisa’s Weibo account, a message appears stating, “This account can no longer be viewed due to reports of violations of laws, regulations, and Weibo management rules.”
According to local reports, it is not entirely clear what complaint was lodged, but Chinese internet companies regularly suspend or delete accounts for violating their numerous censorship regulations or simply causing too much controversy.
Furthermore, they stated that Lisa’s Weibo account suspension occurred after her performance in Paris in September, adding that Lisa’s performance had stirred controversy in some conservative Asian regions.
But is it just a matter of a ’19+ controversy’? Suspicions linger that the Chinese authorities’ censorship is directed towards the K-Pop culture, as evident from previous cases. In May 2021, Weibo announced the deletion of related posts for ten accounts that were accused of “inappropriately supporting children” and barred them from posting for 30 days. These accounts included fan clubs for K-Pop idol groups like BTS and EXO.
China has been pursuing a policy of “taming South Korea” through the Korean Wave since the decision was made to deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system in South Korea in 2016. Seven years ago, China was one of the top three markets in the K-Pop industry, along with Japan and the United States. The focus of domestic idol activities was also on the enormous Chinese market. However, since the THAAD issue, K-Pop industry stakeholders have shifted their focus from Asia to the Americas and Europe due to the increasing difficulty of conducting unfettered activities. In fact, several well-known domestic entertainment companies have withdrawn their local business operations and completely suspended their activities in China.