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Agency cancels release of Blackpink panda footage after Chinese netizens complain

scene from the trailer for the most recent episode of Blackpink’s online reality show, “Blackpink - ‘24/365 with Blackpink'” (YouTube)
scene from the trailer for the most recent episode of Blackpink’s online reality show, “Blackpink - ‘24/365 with Blackpink'” (YouTube)

YG Entertainment announced Saturday that it has decided not to release the latest episode of Blackpink’s online reality show, “Blackpink - ‘24/365 with Blackpink',” which features the K-pop girl band members meeting South Korea’s first panda cub.

The video was scheduled to be posted on the girl band’s YouTube channel Saturday.

The decision came after a trailer posted Wednesday caused an uproar in China because it appeared that the band members were handling the cub without wearing sanitary gloves.

Many Chinese netizens said pandas are national treasures and should not be touched with bare hands because they are vulnerable to disease.

According to the Global Times, under the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, Thursday, a post on the topic on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo had attracted more than 550 million views as of Thursday afternoon. The post said the Korean entertainers were not handling the animal correctly.

In a statement released Saturday, YG Entertainment said the video had been filmed in the presence of professional veterinarians and zookeepers in accordance with strict sanitary guidelines.

“All Blackpink members wore sanitary gloves, masks and protective clothing when they were in contact with the baby panda, and they also sanitized their hands and shoes during every transition between takes,” the agency’s statement said. “Nevertheless, in respect of international cooperation practices and recommendations from panda experts (who say) that nonprofessionals having close contact with the baby panda can cause misunderstandings, we decided to withhold the release of the related video.”

The cub, Fu Bao, was born in July to the only panda couple in Korea. Her parents, Ai Bao and Le Bao, arrived from China in 2016, having been sent here for joint research purposes and as a symbol of the bilateral ties between Korea and China. 

By Song Seung-hyun  (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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