Thu, May 18, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Beijing-backed rappers protest THAAD

AP, BEIJING

A rap group backed by the Chinese government is warning South Korea in a music video that “you’re going too far” with the deployment of a US missile defense system, as Beijing seeks to bring its state-supported cultural forces to bear in the international dispute.

A member of the group CD REV said government officials worked with them on the video and helped to promote it on foreign Web sites, many of which are blocked in China by official censors emboldened by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) warnings against foreign “cultural infiltration.”

In the song, group members chant: “About THAAD we say no, no, no,” a reference to the US Army’s missile defense system, formally known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

Later in the song, they refer to South Korea, saying: “This time, kid, you’re going too far” and “your big brother’s annoyed,” a nod to China’s view of itself as the preeminent political and economic power in northeast Asia.

Beijing vehemently opposes the missile shield, saying its powerful radar would allow it to monitor missile launches, aircraft flights and other sensitive activities in northeastern China.

South Korea and the US say it is necessary to guard against North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons activities that threaten South Korea, Japan, US territories and possibly even the continental US.

CD REV’s Wang Zixin (王梓鑫) told reporters that the group hopes to rally Chinese worldwide against the deployment of THAAD and demonstrate China’s “tough stance” on the issue.

“We would see government reports and comments, but at the same time, we see the whole event from the position of Chinese,” Wang said.

The video, viewed more than 300,000 times on Facebook and Twitter by yesterday, represents the latest example of China’s use of non-diplomatic channels to broadcast its displeasure with South Korea.

Last year, there were reports that China had stopped giving approval to K-pop performers to play shows in China, on the heels of Seoul signing the agreement to host THAAD.

In March, South Korean officials voiced concerns that Beijing was limiting tourism to their country as an unofficial sanction.

South Korean retailer Lotte, which provided the land for the THAAD deployment, has also been boycotted by Chinese customers and seen construction halted on an amusement park it was building in northeastern China.

Such moves underscore a willingness on the part of CCP leaders to fan the flames of anti-South Korea sentiment, said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

“THAAD retaliation is a Chinese government-engineered project,” Lee said. “It can be controlled and reversed by Beijing ... the Chinese public has no interest in the complexities of missile defense systems.”

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