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China claimed Korean folk tradition as Chinese in a TV show, infuriated a number of Korean netizens

The use of hanbok, a Korean folk song, and a traditional fan dance during a Chinese ethnic dance competition program infuriated a number of Korean netizens. (image: Online community). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Oct 5, 2020, Korea Bizwire. A recent Chinese TV show claiming Korean tradition as their own sparked controversy over spreading false facts and misunderstanding across the global community, Korea Bizwire reported.

“Street Dance of China,” a variety show broadcasted by China’s popular video platform Yuku, held an ‘Ethnic Dance’ competition last month in which one of the dance crews performed a ‘Joseon-jok’ (a Korean minority in China) dance mixed with b-boy moves.

During the performance, however, the team danced to “Arirang,” a Korean traditional song, wearing costumes that resembled hanbok, a Korean traditional garment.

The use of hanbok, a Korean folk song, and a traditional fan dance during a Chinese ethnic dance competition program infuriated a number of Korean netizens.

In addition, a Chinese rap competition show “The Rap of China” introduced a Joseon-jok participant performing to “Arirang,” claiming that it was a traditional folk song for the Joseon-jok.

“These television shows are seen by many international fans. They can pose a greater risk than historians claiming historically distorted facts,” said Kim Yeon-soo, a culture critic.

China began the Northeast Project of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2002 to claim all historical facts that happened in Northeast China as part of Chinese history.

The project ended in 2007, but neighboring countries are still concerned over China’s attempt to distort history.

In fact, China added “Arirang” to the Chinese Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity alongside Joseon-jok folk songs and culture.

The South Korean government was able to add “Arirang” on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2012 before China claimed the song as its own.

China continues to exercise various policies to assimilate the Joseon-jok, Mongols, and other minor ethnic groups into Chinese culture.

For instance, several Joseon-jok schools replaced their school textbooks with Chinese curriculum in accordance with government policy.

Experts recommend a long-term response to the Chinese offensive based on scholarly research, rather than turning it into a political issue.

“Raising it as an objective issue across the international community, based on academic literature not only from South Korea, but also from the United States, Russia, Japan, and others is essential to crafting an effective response,” said Prof. Moon Heung-ho from Hanyang University.

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