Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Lee Min-ho Face Threat, Lotte Website Hacked

Trouble brews for South Korean actors like Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, and Lee Min-ho.

Just last week, Soompi honored the best and brightest in the Korean entertainment community. The 12th Annual Soompi Awards rewarded and recognized actors such as Lee Min-ho, Song Hye-kyo, Song Joong-ki, and Jin Goo.

However, now, China has put a damper on these celebrations, which might have a negative impact on these actors.

According to recent news reports, China has instructed travel agencies in the country to stop selling tour packages and trips to South Korea. This is perceived as China’s retaliatory move against Seoul’s decision to deploy an advanced U.S. anti-missile defense system, according to Yonhap.

Now, this move directly affects all Hallyu actors, particularly A-listers such as Song Joong-ki and Lee Min-ho, who have gone the extra mile in promoting South Korean culture to Chinese travelers.

There are, of course, a tiny number of A-listers who, for a while, remained unaffected from the Hallyu ban like Jun Ji-hyun, Song Hye-kyo, Kim Soo-hyun and Park Hae-jin. These stars appeared in outdoor billboards and printed media and renewed advertising contracts. However, of late, none of them have appeared on television.

The travel ban will affect South Korean economy as well as Hallyu stars.

For instance, Jeju Island in South Korea started attracting a lot of tourists after the recently concluded K-drama, The Legend of the Blue Sea, portrayed its rich, deep blue waters. The mini-series, starring Lee Min-ho and Jun Ji Hyun, showcased the beauty of Jeju Island, thereby increasing the tourist count.

As the island is visa-free, more tourists, especially from China, flocked in to experience its stunning grandeur. However, this number will see a decline if Chinese tourists are prevented from visiting South Korea.

A similar fate awaits a Descendants of the Sun tourism site. Last year, the drama, starring Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, garnered massive popularity across the world, especially in China.

The location, which was built on the site of an old mine, was torn down after shooting ended. However, after receiving several requests from tourists and travel agencies, it was decided that the city of Taekbaek in Gangwon Province be converted into a tourist spot.

However, with the mean-spirited ban by China on all things Hallyu, things are bound to take a downward plunge.

Last year, the Global Times, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist party, reported that “South Korea’s tourism industry has to run into a strong headwind as anti-South Korea sentiment grows,” warning that “no other country can fill the vacancy if Chinese visitors go away,” a report by FT stated.

Likewise, K-dramas like Descendants of the Sun garnered a huge fan following in China.

According to the Inquisitr, the response was so 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 were in full swing to make Descendants Of The Sun into a Chinese full-length movie.

Huace Film & TV, one of the country’s biggest film production companies, bought the rights to reproduce it into a film. Now, it’s not certain if the movie will ever be re-made in Chinese.

Lotte Website Hacked

Just a few days ago, actor Lee Min-ho and South Korean retail giant Lotte Duty Free were honored with the National Brand Award for enhancing South Korea’s brand image.

Lotte has millions of Chinese customers and generates a huge revenue in China. However, since Tuesday afternoon, the website was not functional in China. This happened a day after Lotte signed a deal to sell land for a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, a report by UPI stated.

In Shenyang, about 10 Chinese citizens held a protest rally in front of Lotte Department store. The protesters held a placard that read, “Lotte, leave China right now as it supports the U.S. missile system.”

A Lotte official said that the store is making efforts to dispel misunderstandings that Lotte had actually aggressively offered the site for the U.S. missile defense system. The official said there is no way to counter Chinese retaliation.

[Featured Image by Ahn Young-joon/AP Images]

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