Weibo, a Chinese government-controlled social media service, is banning prominent accounts for fans of the South Korean pop group BTS.
The Chinese outlet Global Times said Friday that Weibo banned seven BTS accounts and ten pop music fan accounts. The move comes as the group’s single, Butter, set a record on YouTube with 21 million views in an hour, breaking the site record held by the group’s previous single, Dynamite. The video, the group’s second English-language effort, now has more than 139 million views.
The Chinese government has been waging a campaign for years against K-pop and Chinese imitators of the style, claiming that the image of young men wearing cosmetics and sporting delicate beauty and high fashion threaten the future of the nation.
BTS, arguably the most popular group in the world, is a particular target. Last year, Chinese media condemned the group after member RM thanked the government of the United States and its military for its “sacrifices” in the Korean War.
“China’s Twitter-like Weibo announced on Friday it has banned 10 accounts of fan clubs from posting for 30 days. The accounts were suspended for encouraging inappropriate behaviors including cyberbullying and improper fundraising and voting,” the Global Times claimed.
Ironically, China held a competition earlier this year to create its own boy group, The program was held on the Chinese online medium Tencent and resulted in INTO1, a group that will make its formal debut after recording original music following the end of the program in April.