China appears to have confirmed that it is to ban South Korean content from its TV screens in reprisal against the Korean government’s decision to deploy the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles.
State-owned China Central Television (CCTV) reported that SARFT, China’s broadcast regulator, had banned the airing of Korean TV shows with effect from Sept. 1. Some social media sources, however, said that the news report was a fake.
South Korea says THAAD can only be used defensively, and is necessary to deter or defend against attack from North Korea. On Wednesday North Korea fired a missile that landed in Japanese territorial waters.
China opposes THAAD deployment, which is scheduled to take place next year, as it says the missile system’s radar can be used to spy across borders and into China.
Variety has also been told that Chinese-Korean co-productions and talent are to be restricted as part of the reprisal measures. Several Korean companies said that their Chinese partner had been given verbal instructions from China’s Film Bureau that planned co-productions would not be approved.
China has become the biggest export market for South Korean TV content and music acts. Chinese producers and broadcasters have also been in exuberant competition to buy Korean intellectual property from comics to movies to remake or to co-produce. And several Chinese companies have acquired stakes in Korean outfits in order to have priority access to Korean content and talent.
The regulatory measures had an immediate impact on the shares of leading Korean talent agencies. YG Entertainment stock dropped nearly 9% on Tuesday to a 52-week low of KRW33,800. SM Entertainment also hit its year low of KRW27,650. Both have recovered slightly since then.
Despite the massive interest in Korea’s cool contemporary content, China’s state news agency Xinhua said that there is popular support for the anti-Korean measures. “A recent survey showed that more than four-fifths of Chinese people would support the ban on the appearance of South Korean entertainers in Chinese TV programs if the government does so. It reflects Chinese placing love for their home country before popularity of entertainment stars,” Xinhua reported Thursday.