Chinese streaming platform iQiyi is feeling the heat from netizens in China for showing the Korean drama “Something in the Rain,” the first Korean series to have received approval by Beijing in five years.
Netizens took to China’s Twitter-like Weibo to complain about iQiyi’s decision to start airing on the show on its platform.
“(Korean dramas) can stay banned … Why are you starting this?” one user commented on iQiyi’s Weibo post. The comment received more than 49,000 “likes.”
“There are so many dramas that are not on the platform and you choose to stream a Korean drama? Take it down quickly,” another comment read.
Another said, “Has the Korean content restriction been lifted? Do we not have any of our Chinese dramas? I am speechless. After this Winter Olympics, all my goodwill toward South Korea has disappeared.”
“Something in the Rain,” which has been available on iQiyi from Thursday, became the first Korean drama in about five years to win approval from the Chinese broadcasting regulatory authority National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA). Since 2017, Beijing has imposed a tacit ban on Korean content in response to Seoul’s decision to deploy the US THAAD anti-missile system.
Korean fantasy romance drama “Saimdang: Memoir of Colors” was also aired in China in January, but it was approved by the NRTA before the retaliatory action began in November 2016.
On Friday, the 16-part JTBC drama series made it to the list of top 10 popular content on iQiyi, one of the top three Chinese broadcasting and video sharing platforms. A Chinese remake of “Something in the Rain” will also be streamed on iQiyi, the platform announced in May.
The romance drama, starring top star Son Ye-jin and rookie actor Jung Hae-in, tells the story of Yoon Jin-ah (played by Son), a single woman in her 30s who works as a store supervisor in a coffee shop. Yoon, who finds her peaceful life sometimes frivolous, unexpectedly falls in love with her best friend’s younger brother, Seo Joon-hee (played by Jung). The series has enjoyed popularity here, having reached a viewership rate of 7.3 percent.
Despite the barrage of negative public opinion in China about the show, some Korean industry insiders see the drama’s release in China as signaling a positive change in Beijing’s stance on Korean content.
Since 2017, Korean contents have been barred from not only video streaming platforms but also China’s TV networks and cinemas as well.
Jang Seong-hwan, head of the Beijing Office of the Korea Copyright Commission, told local media that he is expecting to see more Korean content getting the green light in China in the near future.
By Song Seung-hyun (email@example.com)