Due to souring relations between China and South Korea several years ago, China implemented a soft ban on Korean-related entertainment. K-Pop songs were brushed off the market. Studios stopped casting Korean actors, and many K-Pop stars were not allowed to extend their music tours to China. Popular Korean variety shows like Running Man and Superman Returns abruptly stopped broadcast. For Korean actors and pop stars who had a thriving fanbase in China, their paychecks were dramatically cut.
Fortunately, this soft ban on Korea was eventually lifted, and more Hallyu-related entertainment started to seep back in. But just as Korean celebrities were gaining back traction, netizens have discovered a new “limit rule” being put in place—banning Korean celebrities from using Chinese social media.
Last month, a string of Korean celebrities who were once very active on Douyin (aka TikTok outside of China) found that they could no longer log back into their accounts. In addition, Korean celebrities who were also active on Sina Weibo—such as Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho, and Ji Chang Wook—have not updated their Weibo in several weeks. The “limit Korea order” has been trending vigorously on Weibo, as many Chinese fans have started to notice that their favorite celebrities were no longer promoting their dramas on the social media platform.
Kim Soo Hyun, who is back to prominence following his lead performance in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, has over 10.8 million fans on Weibo. He hasn’t shared a new upload since August 6, despite being very active with promoting his new drama. Ji Chang Wook from Backstreet Rookie has over 4.75 million followers, but his last upload was a behind-the-scenes clip of his drama on August 1. Lee Min Ho, with 28 million fans, hasn’t updated since July 16.
The “limit Korea order” speculation became more apparent after Korean singer Hwang Chi Yeul told a fan on Weibo that he couldn’t post new uploads on his Weibo. The fan asked if he was no longer using Weibo, to which he responded, “I can’t use it. I’m not the only one. Many Korean artistes also can’t. I hope all relationships will improve.”
Interestingly, Lisa of K-Pop girl group BLACKPINK is one of the very few K-Pop stars in recent weeks who has been very active with uploading new content on Weibo. However, it is important to note that Lisa is not Korean, but Thai.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.