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K-pop's Blackpink pulls video after backlash in China over baby panda

SEOUL : A reality TV episode showing Blackpink holding a newborn panda was pulled after accusations in China that the K-pop girl group mishandled a national treasure, the latest row between South Korea's entertainment stars and audiences in its large neighbour.

Last month, South Korean boy band BTS was heavily criticised 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. Its 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 four band members holding the baby panda in a trailer which aired on YouTube earlier this month, for its reality TV show 24/365 With Blackpink.

Some Chinese local media and online commentators denounced Blackpink for touching Fu Bao with bare hands and while wearing too much make-up, saying it threatened the health of the young cub. As of yesterday, there were millions of views and 55,000 posts on hashtag "Blackpink touched panda cub wrongly" on Weibo. The full episode was to have been broadcast last Saturday and has been postponed, according to the group's music label, YG Entertainment, although it defended the production.

"When Blackpink met the baby panda, all members wore hygiene gloves, masks and protective clothing... hands and shoes were disinfected at every transition," the agency said.- REUTERS

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