A Chinese member of K-pop group Everglow has taken racist attacks and criticism online after using traditional Chinese etiquette when greeting fans instead of kneeling down like her Korean bandmates.
Singer Wang Yiren was with other members of Everglow at an event on January 2 to greet fans in Seoul, while other members knelt down and touched the floor with their foreheads in traditional Korean style, Wang used a Chinese hand gesture — the fist and palm salute — to express thanks and New Year greetings.
In Chinese culture kneeling down is seen as a servile gesture and is no longer considered appropriate. In South Korea, it remains in use as a way to greet others and offer thanks.
While Wang’s gesture was widely praised in China, South Koreans quickly attacked the move online.
“All this shows that the Chinese are arrogant and have no respect or consideration for other cultures,” wrote one commenter on K-pop news site allkpop.
“Stop making Korean money and go back to your country then,” wrote another.
However, Chinese fans praised her stance and defended the singer online, with the hashtag “Wang Yiren, Chinese people don’t kneel” trending after a photo of the event was posted on Everglow’s Weibo account.
“Chinese people don’t kneel down,” wrote one commenter on Weibo.
“I’m proud of this idol who keeps Chinese traditions,” said another user.