A reality TV episode showing K-pop girl band BLACKPINK holding a newly born panda was pulled after accusations in China that the group mishandled a national treasure, the latest row between South Korea’s entertainment stars and audiences in its large neighbor. Last month, South Korean boyband BTS was heavily criticized in China after its leader made remarks about the Korean War, and some BTS-related products were removed from Chinese websites. Fu Bao, the first panda to be born in South Korea was introduced to the public last week. Fu Bao’s parents arrived in 2016 from China’s Sichuan province, the home of giant pandas, as part of China’s “panda diplomacy”. BLACKPINK included footage of the band members holding the baby panda in a teaser clip aired on YouTube earlier this month. Some Chinese local media and online commentators denounced the girl group for touching Fu Bao with bare hands and while wearing too much make-up, saying it threatened the health of the young cub. The comments set off a storm on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
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