Song Joong-ki, Lee Min-ho To Be Banned: Dramas Like ‘Descendants Of The Sun’ In Trouble

Dark news awaits South Korean actors Song Joong-ki and Lee Min-ho.

While fans are debating who is hotter among the two, a bigger problem has cropped up putting these high-profile actors in jeopardy.

However, it’s not just these two Hallyu stars who are in trouble.

While South Korean dramas and music have always captivated the world, not all is well back home.

According to a report by SCMP, China has already imposed a blanket ban on all South Korean entertainment. This means no Korean reality TV shows, no K-dramas, and no Hallyu stars hosting or acting in Chinese television.

The irony is that this ban has got nothing to do with the content in K-dramas or K-pop shows. However, actors such as Song joong-ki and Lee Min-ho seem to be bearing the brunt of China’s decision.

The reason China is imposing a ban on South Korean entertainment is purely political.

Recently, South Korea agreed to join hands with the U.S. and decided to deploy a U.S.-developed missile shield, which China strongly opposes. To get back at South Korea, China is trying to target Hallyu stars, who are the country’s major economy boosters.

Two sources at TV stations in Guangdong province told the SCMP that they have received orders from the ­national media watchdog that new approvals for programs featuring South Korean pop stars would not be granted in the near future.

“They told us to postpone any plans for new programmes that involve South Korean stars or copyright for South Korean TV shows. They said we would not get approval, even if we made such plans,” said a source.

However nothing has been issued in writing so far. According to an insider, the ban order was passed on verbally a few days ago by officials from the State Administration of Press, Publication, ­Radio, Film and Television, the mainland regulator responsible for TV censorship.

“We haven’t seen any written bans from the administration, but people in the industry are quite worried and many have said they would avoid taking on any work that involves South Korean dramas recently,” she said.

A distributor of South Korean drama, on conditions of anonymity, said that the Chinese government has made it extremely difficult to obtain ­approval for content from regulators. The only silver lining is that the programs that had already been endorsed would continue to be aired, the source said.

So far, China’s foreign ministry has not responded to the alleged restrictions on South ­Korean stars.

K-drama Descendants of the Sun garnered a huge fan following in China. According to the Straits Times, the response was overwhelming that at one point the Chinese government discouraged its citizens from watching such entertainment. Despite the warning, the show went on to become a huge success in China. In fact, preparations are in full swing to make Descendants Of The Sun into a Chinese full-length movie.

According to China Daily, Huace Film & TV, one of the country’s biggest film production companies, has already bought the rights to reproduce it into a film.

According to Yonhap, Zhang Yibai will direct the movie and the lead roles for Yoo Si-jin and Kang Mo-yeon, played by Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo in the original series, haven’t been cast yet.

However, after China’s newly imposed ban, we must wait and watch to what extent the director will be given the freedom to make this movie.

According to the website ­, several anonymous sources said that areas where the stars would face tighter scrutiny are TV programs and movies, reality TV shows, commercials, and endorsements.

Lee Min-ho, who recently starred in Bounty Hunters, was a huge hit in China. Sadly, his next project The Legend Of The Blue Sea might take a beating if the ban is not lifted.


Besides the K-drama Descendants of the Sun starring Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, the new series Uncontrollably Fond starring Bae Suzy and Kim Woo Bin are doing better in China than in South Korea. If the ban is not lifted, ratings of the upcoming K-dramas will go down the drain.

One has to wait and watch if China will lift its ban on Korean stars. If not, this might create a negative impact on Hallyu entertainment and will affect talented actors such as Song Joong-ki and Lee Min-ho.


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[Photo by Kin Cheung/ AP Images]