China warns against watching Korean drama

SEOUL • The popularity of KBS2 drama Descendants Of The Sun in China apparently has the Chinese government on edge.

Last Saturday, China's Ministry of Public Security posted a warning against watching Descendants Of The Sun on its official Weibo site.

"An enormous fandom of Korean drama Descendants Of The Sun starring Song Joong Ki has emerged as it began to air in South Korea and China. It is easy to see that many have fallen in love with the male lead Song," it said, warning that "watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and even lead to legal troubles".

Descendants Of The Sun, a 16- episode KBS2 TV drama set against the backdrop of military operations in a fictional country and co-starring Song Hye Kyo, hit 440 million cumulative views on Chinese online video platform iQiyi.

The cumulative views of the TV drama outnumbered those of 2014 SBS hit drama My Love From The Star, Taiwan's China Times reported on Sunday.

In its Weibo posting warning against the harmful effects of watching Korean dramas, the ministry offered examples of several extreme cases - a couple who divorced due to Korean dramas and a man who went through plastic surgery to reclaim the heart of his wife, who was smitten by the male protagonist of a Korean drama - to illustrate the "potential troubles" faced by those watching Korean dramas.

Descendants Of The Sun was released simultaneously in South Korea and China, where iQiyi has bought online rights.

To pass China's time-consuming and stringent censoring process, the entire show was pre-recorded, producers were quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.

Traditionally, Korean shows are produced on an episode-by- episode basis to leave room for tweaks.

The TV drama is also gaining popularity in South Korea.

It recorded 14.4 per cent of viewership with its first episode aired on Feb 24 and hitting 28.5 per cent for its sixth episode which aired last Thursday, according to television ratings company AGB Nielsen.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline China warns against watching Korean drama. Subscribe