Anti-Korean sentiment in China

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Anti-Korean sentiment in China refers to opposition, hostility, hatred, distrust, fear, and general dislike of Korean people, culture and anything having to do with either that occurs in both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan).

South Korea established official relations with the People's Republic of China in 1992, and relations between the two states have gradually improved. Within the Chinese population, Korean art and culture became popular in the 21st century. Amid improvements in relations however, there was also looming anti-South Korean sentiment involved in various disputes between the two countries.


As a result of the anti-Chinese riots in Korea in 1931, the Chinese responded with even more vicious anti-Korean riots that erupted all over China and the hatred of Koreans by the Chinese increased dramatically. In Jilin alone, Chinese rioters slaughtered 10,000 Koreans in retalliation all over the province accompanied by the looting or destruction of Korean houses. Another anti-Korean riot in Supingkai resulted in the deaths of 300 Koreans.[1]



Konghanzheng, a term coined by Chinese football fans, refers to a persistent phenomenon where the Chinese national football team has played about 30 matches against the South Korean national football team since 1978 but has never been able to beat them. Frustration has possibly led to several violent outbreaks against South Koreans in football games hosted in China, such as the Olympic preliminary match in 1999, friendship match in 2001, and another Olympics preliminary match in 2004.[2]

In a Korea-China friendship football match held in Beijing, in 2000, South Korean spectators were violently beaten by Chinese spectators as the Chinese team lost.[3] In 2004 during an Athens Olympics football preliminary match held in Changsha, China, Chinese spectators responded with violence as the Chinese team lost, resulting in the injury of one Korean spectator.[2][4]

During the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted in Korea and Japan, the Chinese media made several negative reports about South Korea.[5] As the South Korean team progressed through the tournament, the Chinese media stated that the South Korean team was winning because of unfair play and preferential treatment.

Anti-South Korean sentiment was also apparent among ordinary Chinese in China. It has been reported that ethnic Koreans in China were afraid of openly cheering for Korean teams due to hostility from local Chinese.[5]

2007 Asian Winter Games[edit]

During the 2007 Asian Winter Games held in Changchun, China, a group of South Korean athletes held up signs during the award ceremony which contained text that read "Mount Baekdu is our territory". Chinese sports officials delivered a letter of protest to criticize that those political activities violated the spirit of the Olympics. This incident has become a source for anti-Korea sentiment in China.[6][7][8][9]

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

A young man at the relay in Seoul wearing a Daegu University shirt with the phrase "Tibet belongs to China" written on it

Those sentiments in China, along with similar anti-Chinese sentiments in Korea, became more prominent as a result of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.[10] During the Seoul leg of the 2008 Olympic torch relay, Chinese students clashed with protesters.[11][12][13] Numerous projectiles were thrown towards the South Korean protesters, injuring one newspaper reporter. Chinese supporters of the Beijing Olympics also engaged in mob violence, notably in the lobby of Seoul Plaza Hotel, against South Korean protesters, Tibetans, Western tourists, and police officers.[14]

Further controversy was generated when Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) leaked footage of rehearsals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. A Beijing Olympic official expressed his disappointment over the leakage.[15][16] This incident has been widely reported in the Chinese media, as can be seen as the impetus to the dislike and distrust towards South Koreans amongst Chinese.

Throughout the events, the Chinese spectators often booed the South Korean athletes and cheered for competing nations.[17][18] These attitudes were widely reported within the South Korean media, however the issue which became the subject of most attention was that Chinese spectators chose to cheer for Japanese athletes when competing against South Korea, an action previously seen as taboo in earlier years as a result of Anti-Japanese sentiment in China. Analysts in China and abroad claim that Chinese are supporting Japanese players in return for their goodwill gestures towards China, noting a notable improvement in relations, which were previously mounted with arguments regarding topics such as World War II atrocities.[19][20]

Baseball rivalry[edit]

Within the Republic of China animosity between Taiwanese and Koreans is present as a result of the rivalry between the two sovereign states in relation to baseball.[21] [22][23]

Although baseball is one of the most popular sports in Taiwan, Taiwanese baseball team have lost to South Korea at the international matches many times. This caused frustration and resentment towards South Korea among baseball fans.[24] Taiwanese media made various controversial reports on South Korean baseball players;[25] in one instance, the Taiwan edition of Now News called Shin-soo Choo, a then-Korean outfielder in the Cleveland Indians, Gaoli bangzi (高麗棒子), a derogatory slur against Koreans.[26] The slur was later removed, but not before South Korean media reported on it.[27] Chinese Taipei baseball fans often refer to the South Korean baseball team as Gaoli Paocai (高麗泡菜; Goryeo Kimchi) and Gaoli Bangzi,[24] whilst verbal attacks against South Korean Major League players are also common.

Chinese diaspora and students[edit]

Another source of Anti-South Korean sentiment within China originates from reports by a number of overseas Chinese students in Korea, who experienced negative attitudes of local Koreans.[28] It is reported that they are discriminated against based on the stereotype that they are uncivil, poor, and ignored by Koreans.[29] Such reports by students claim that they are discriminated against based on the assumption that they are viewed as uncivil, poor and are excluded or ignored by Koreans.[29]

Many Chinese Nationals of Korean descent also suffer from discrimination. Many of them work in "3D" jobs, referring to dirty, difficult and dangerous work conditions.

Huang Youfu, an ethnic Korean professor at the Minzu University of China noted that articles written by joseonjok about the discrimination in South Korea was a major source of anti-South Korean sentiment in China amongst netizens.[30][31][32][33]


In 2005, anti-South Korean sentiments in China became a major trend as China began disputing South Korea’s attempts to register the Gangneung Danoje Festival as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.[34][35] China claimed the Gangneung Danoje Festival derived from the Chinese Dragonboat Festival, and pursued a joint-registration of Gangneung Danoje Festival and Chinese Dragonboat Festival.[36]

South Korea held the position that the Gangneung Danoje Festival is a unique cultural tradition of Gangneung, Korea, completely different from the Chinese Dragonboat Festival, and rejected Chinese contentions for joint-registration. Despite Chinese opposition, UNESCO has registered the Gangneung Danoje Festival as an intangible cultural heritage.[37] Upon registration, the Chinese media began making accusations of South Korea stealing Chinese culture, and expressed regret and humiliation at losing Chinese Dragonboat Festival to South Korea.[38]

The UNESCO intangible heritage controversy was followed by a series of similar accusations from the Chinese media and the Chinese internet. In 2007, rumors from the Chinese media that South Korea is attempting to register Chinese characters at UNESCO has generated significant controversy.[39] These reports has also spread to Hong Kong and Taiwanese media.[40]

Influenced by these issues, South Korea was elected as the most hated country in an internet survey on Chinese netizens, according to Chinese news 国际先驱导报 in 2007.[41] However, despite the internet debate, China's view of Korea is generally fine. One survey reports "good relations" reached 50.2% of the respondents, the "general" up to 40.8% while "an anti-Korean sentiment" of the small proportion of respondents was only 4.4 to 6.1%.[42]

Continent series[edit]

The continent series (Chinese: 大陆系列; Korean: 대륙시리즈) refers to a series of images posted on blogs and forums throughout the South Korean online community created in late 2008, ridiculing negative aspects of mainland China, such as fake products, Shanzhai, public indecency in poorer districts, and general negative portrayal of Chinese people.[43] Chinese websites widely reported on the new "online phenomena", causing a backlash from Chinese netizens.[44]

Psychological perspective[edit]

From a psychological perspective, Chinese are seen as assuming Koreans to be part of a Sino-centric East Asian regional order.[45] As a part of this group, Koreans are assumed to be inherently friendly to China. Chinese also emphasize hierarchy within their Sino-centric order, where China is at the very top of the hierarchy. In contrast, Koreans emphasize equality in diplomatic relations in East Asia. This rejection leads to conflict of existential identities, potentially promoting a relationship of negative interdependence.[45]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Hyun Ok Park (1994). Materializing Nation and Gender: Peasant Mobilization in Northeast China from 1911 to 1945. p. 137. 
  2. ^ a b 축구 진 중국 응원단 치우미, '붉은악마'에 분풀이 [Chiumi, the cheering squad of the defeated People's Republic of China team, vented the spite on 'Red Devil'] (in Korean). Naver / Pressian. 2004-05-03. 
  3. ^ 한중축구전서 中관중 한국응원단 2명 폭행 공식확인 [The official confirmation on the Chinese spectators' assaults against two South Korean cheering squad members] (in Korean). Naver / Yonhap. 2000-08-11. 
  4. ^ Go, Yeong-jun (고영준) (2004-05-03). "축구" 붉 은악마 부상 네티즌 시끌벅적 [The injury of the soccer, Red Devil members become controversial within netizens] (in Korean). The Dong-a Ilbo. 
  5. ^ a b Park, Gang-seop (박강섭) (2002-06-26). "현장기자" 중국언론 월드컵보도 유감 [(field reporter) Regretful about the way the RPC's media report the Worldcup] (in Korean). Naver News / Kookmin Ilbo. 
  6. ^ "China Upset with "Baekdu Mountain" Skaters". Chosunilbo. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2012. "There are no territorial disputes between China and South Korea. What the Koreans did this time hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and violated the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Council of Asia," the official said, according to the China News. 
  7. ^ "Seoul asks Beijing to respond in composed manner to dispute over Mount Paektu". Yonhap News. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Lee Jin-woo (2 February 2007). "Seoul Cautious Over Rift With China". The Korea Times. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Sports World Korea
  10. ^ (in Korean)<베이징2008>(결산)베이징올림픽은 반한(反韓)올림픽
  11. ^ Chinese student sorry for torch violence
  12. ^ Olympic Torch Hits China After Violence-Strewn Relay
  13. ^ Lee, Gil-seong (이길성); Won, Jeong-hwan (원정환) (2008-04-29). 중국인들 집단 폭력에 멍들어버린 서울 [Seoul bruised by the Chinese mob's organized assaults] (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo. 
  14. ^ (in Korean) <풀영상> 성화봉송 프라자호텔에서 무슨일이?
  15. ^ Some secrets out about Olympics opening ceremony APF
  16. ^ (in Korean)SBS ‘몰카’ 파문...올림픽 개막식 리허설 무단 방영
  17. ^ Anti-Korean sentiment spreads through China - (English)
  18. ^ (in Korean)중국인들, 왜 한국 관중에 야유할까?
  19. ^ Sunny Lee, Anti-Korean Sentiment in China Overshadows Lee-Hu Summit Today, The Korea Times, 08-24-2008
  20. ^ Anti-Korean Sentiment: Seoul, Beijing Should Boost Understanding and Friendship, The Korea Times (Opinion), 08-21-2008
  21. ^ 李祖杰 (23 March 2009). "不瞭解韓國 休想贏韓國". UDN運動大聯盟. 
  22. ^ 22 August 2006, 沒品的韓國人 台中力行少棒隊20分痛宰對手竟遭禁賽, NOW News
  23. ^ Hatred Baseball Game - Korea vs Taiwan
  24. ^ a b Edgar Lin (20 March 2006). "愛德格觀點:看看韓國". 想台灣. 
  25. ^ "Taiwan Media calls Korean baseball player Choo Shin Soo a racist name". 
  26. ^ 19 April 2009, MLB/建仔投不滿2局又被打爆 吉拉迪:可能跳過下場先發, NOW News (Original news report by NOW News; page has been subsequently revised)
  27. ^ 2009-04-20, 대만 언론, 추신수 비하 '논란', CBS
  28. ^ “가게주인, 일본손님엔 웃고 중국인엔 험한 표정”, Hani, 2008-08-27
  29. ^ a b 중국 유학생들, ‘한국인이 중국 배척하고 무시’, Hani, 2008-08-27
  30. ^ Lee, Sunny (2008-03-09), "Anti-Korean Sentiment in China Evolutionary", Korea Times, archived from the original on 2012-09-18, retrieved 2009-01-07 
  31. ^ Snyder 2008, p. 5
  32. ^ (in Chinese) 中國朝鮮族 赴韓淘金吟悲歌 2008-02-25
  33. ^ China-Korea Relations:Post-Olympic Hangover: New Backdrop for Relations 2008-10-01
  34. ^ 차이나 워치 한·중 원조 논쟁 ... “민족 감정 버려야 풀린다”]
  35. ^ "시론" 한·중 문화주권 갈등 어떻게 풀까/ 쑨커즈 중국 푸단대학 사학과 교수
  36. ^ 韓·中 단오 이름만 같을뿐 ...
  37. ^ 강릉단오제 유네스코 인류구전 및 무형유산걸작 선정
  38. ^ 中언론 “한국에 단오절 빼앗긴건 큰 수치”
  39. ^ 한국의 漢字 세계유산 신청說에 中네티즌 '발끈'
  40. ^ 쑨원은 한국인"... 中 언론보도로 반한 감정 고조
  41. ^ 中国人は日本より韓国が嫌い=中国紙 [Chinese hate Korea more than they hate Japan] Chosun Ilbo, 11 December 2007
  42. ^ 中国人心目中韩国形象如何? 专家探讨“嫌韩论” Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Survey 2009-12-23. 中国新闻网
  43. ^ 韩媒担心网上辱华照片泛滥 -
  44. ^ 辱华照片在韩国网络上流传 韩媒表示忧虑 - QQ新闻
  45. ^ a b Gries, Peter Hays (Winter 2005). "The Koguryo Controversy, National Identity, and Sino-Korean relations Today" (PDF). East Asia. 22 (4): 3–17. doi:10.1007/s12140-005-0001-y.