TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An episode of a popular South Korean TV show has been yanked off the Chinese streaming platform Bilibili after Chinese netizens complained that the flag of Taiwan had been displayed on a game board.
Since its launch in 2010, the South Korean variety show "Running Man" has been popular across East Asia, including in China. However, on Monday (Dec. 7), the show rose to the No. 5 spot among trending topics due to a debate over the appearance of the Taiwanese flag in its most recent episode.
In the episode, participants can be seen playing a Monopoly-like game, but instead of the standard properties, each square has a city name and the flag of the country it is located in. In the lower righthand corner, Beijing is listed with the crimson banner of China, while Taipei is listed to its right with the official flag of Taiwan.
Chinese netizens soon noticed the Taiwanese standard and posted screenshots on Weibo, with many complaining the TV show had shown a lack of respect for Chinese fans and demanding an apology.
"Since there is not even the most basic sign of respect, I must say goodbye to Running Man."
"If they don't apologize for the insult then they should be completely blocked."
"The show's producers did this on purpose."
"As a loyal viewer of Running Man, to be honest, I felt very uncomfortable watching this episode."
"What were the show's producers thinking? Did they have to play a game with such a sensitive subject?"
"They have been taught history lessons from an early age that Taiwan and the Mainland are two countries. Look at how ridiculous their education is."
However, other Chinese netizens had a different point of view:
"Actually, this is no big deal.
"South Korea has always regarded Taiwan and China as two countries."
"South Koreans actually don't like China."
"The more uncomfortable we are, the harder we scold them, the more Koreans will support the show! If we boycott the show this time, its ratings in South Korea may reach new highs. They don’t care about Chinese fans at all."
"They don't come to China to make money."
"No one in the world, except Chinese, think that Taiwan is part of China. There is no point in trying to control it. Why should they care about fans far away in China who do not contribute to ratings at all?"
According to China's state-run mouthpiece the Global Times, the offending episode was taken down from Bilibili because it had placed China and Taiwan "on equal footing."