On July 31, 2021, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be premiering a special anti-racist concert titled Live Together. The online concert is “a joint campaign of the MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to unite against racism and promote solidarity and embracement.”
The online anti-racism concert shared a promotional video that boasted an impressive line-up of artists who will be performing. Brave Girls, Ailee, Dynamic Duo, MONSTA X and more will be a part of this amazing anti-racism initiative. However, one of the groups that is set to perform at the Live Together concert has been receiving backlash from the Korean public, and the group in question is NCT Dream.
The criticisms against NCT Dream’s participation stirs from the fact that the group’s two Chinese members, Chenle and Renjun congratulated China’s Communist Party on their 100th anniversary. Earlier this year, China’s Community Party (CCP) celebrated its 100th year since its founding back in 1921. Dozens of Chinese idols active within the K-Pop industry took to Weibo (Chinese social media) to share their congratulations and amongst the dozens were the two NCT Dream members.
While the Korean public has been consistent with their CCP opposition, their most recent backlash towards the NCT Dream members is due to the CCP’s ongoing oppression and genocide of the Xinjiang Uyghur people.
According to BBC News, China has been accused of “genocide against the Uyghur population and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups.” It’s been further reported that China may have “detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years.” While China and the CCP claim that these internment camps are “re-education camps,” there have been reports that suggest that the Uyghur people are being used “as forced labor and women [are] being forcibly sterilized” to decrease their population.
The genocide and oppression of the Uyghur people in China has been ongoing since 2014, which may be why Korean netizens were left baffled when they saw the inclusion of the NCT Dream members. As the Live Together concert promotes anti-racism, many netizens had a hard time understanding why Chenle and Renjun were invited to participate when they support the CCP, who are actively persecuting Uyghurs for their racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Thousands of netizens commented on the situation, expressing their bewilderment at the boy group’s involvement in the campaign.
- “How is it that this group that has members who support the oppression of a minority ethnic group are able to participate in a anti-racist concert?”
- “This is so absurd that I’m not even mad. Is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs out of their mind?”
- “Do the Chinese members of NCT have the right to participate?”
- “It’s promoting anti-racism but it’s okay for these idols, who support the CCP and the oppression of minority ethic groups to participate? It’s so f*cking ridiculous.”
- “Is this supposed to be funny.”
- “Wow, it’s truly just a matter of seconds that a group’s image can ruin like this.”
Hundreds of other netizens have begun to file official complaints with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for the removal of NCT Dream from the Live Together concert lineup.
No responses have been made by SM Entertainment or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.