K-pop group Super Junior’s Choi Siwon made Chinese fans furious after he liked a tweet about the demonstrations in Hong Kong a few days ago. While Choi has since apologised and “unliked” the tweet, fans don’t easily forgive (or forget).
On Nov 24, the K-pop star liked a tweet from Korean news outlet Chosun. The tweet included a link to an interview with Chow Pak-kwan, the 21-year-old protester who was shot and injured by a traffic policeman on Nov 11.
While Twitter is blocked in China, Chinese social media sites like Weibo pick-up news from the west, particularly stories that earn the ire of the people or the government.
Chinese fans went to their Twitter-like platform to air their grievances against the type of tweet Choi liked. A screenshot of Choi’s Twitter page was shared on Weibo, where the K-pop star has 16.5 million followers.
“(I) will not forgive you, because my country is more important,” wrote one former fan.
“No one and nothing can shake our own position about patriotism,” posted a Choi fan group that has decided to shut down because of the controversy.
The Chinese state-run Global Times reported that Choi had “liked” a post that “glamorised Hong Kong rioters”.
Some fans seem to feel the same and have also accused Choi of being insincere in his apology. Choi was questioned and criticised for posting his apology only to Weibo and not to other Western social media platforms.
The controversy has caused other fan groups, like Super Junior fan group ELF, to announce a boycott regarding Choi’s participation in the band’s January concert in Macau, and his other activities on the mainland.
A fan forum dedicated solely to Choi with over 90,000 followers has also announced its decision to shut down.
On the night of Nov 24, Choi “unliked” the post and also issued an official apology on Weibo, saying he hoped that there would soon be an end to “the violence and chaos” in Hong Kong.
“Since the controversy caused by this behaviour makes you all feel disgusted and disappointed, I express my sincerest apologies to all of you,” wrote Choi on Weibo.
“I saw what happened on Twitter caused some problems,” Choi acknowledged. “As for my actions, I would like to express my wish that the violence and chaos can come to a peaceful end as soon as possible.”