Chinese government warns of dangers of Korean dramas as Descendants Of The Sun hits 440m views in China

The KBS2 drama Descendants of the Sun hit 440 million views on Chinese online video platform iQiyi. PHOTO: KBS

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The popularity of KBS2 drama series Descendants Of The Sun in China apparently has the nation's government on edge.

On Saturday (March 12), China's Ministry of Public Security posted a warning on its official Weibo site against watching Descendants Of The Sun.

"An enormous fandom of Korean drama Descendants Of The Sun starring Song Joong Ki has emerged as it began to air in 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 series set against the backdrop of military operations in a fictional country and starring actor Song Joong Ki and actress 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, Taiwanese newspaper 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 surgeries to reclaim his wife's heart, 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 Korea and China, where iQiyi has purchased the 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 series is also gaining popularity in Korea, recording 14.4 per cent of viewership with its first episode which aired on Feb 24 and hitting 28.5 per cent for its sixth episode aired on March 10, according to AGB Nielsen, a television ratings company.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.