Blackpink criticised by Chinese netizens for their interactions with baby panda

A Blackpink singer carrying a baby panda at a theme park in South Korea. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM BLACKPINK/YOUTUBE

Blackpink have sparked a controversy on Chinese social media for touching a baby panda with their makeup on.

On Wednesday (Nov 4), the popular K-pop girl group released the trailer for the last episode of their reality show, 24/365 With Blackpink, which is scheduled to be aired on Saturday.

In the clip, Blackpink, comprising Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa, were seen going to a theme park in Seoul to visit Fu Bao, the first panda to be born in South Korea about three months ago.

Lisa, 23, and Jisoo, 25, were seen putting on gloves to prepare food while Jennie, 24, and Rose, 23, followed a zookeeper's instruction to check on the mother panda's health by inspecting its palm. Jennie was also seen carrying the baby panda.

Although Blackpink's four members wore face masks, gloves and protective suits during their interactions with the baby panda, their make-up riled up netizens in China.

They said the cosmetics might cause irritations for the baby panda due to its low immunity, and stressed that in China, only zookeepers are allowed to touch the pandas to reduce the possibility of infections and unintentional harm.

Some netizens also pointed out that Lisa and Jisoo did not wear face masks while preparing the food, while others pointed out that Jennie and Rose did not wear even face masks and gloves while touching the mother panda's palm.

However, some South Korean fans claimed that rules in China do not apply in South Korea. The theme park also said the Blackpink members followed the zookeepers' instructions and sanitised their hands during the recording.

The issue is trending on Sina Weibo, with the hashtag #SouthKoreanArtistsTouchBabyPandaIllegally drawing more than 750 million views as of Friday evening.

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