The Korea Herald


At the heart of THAAD tension, Lotte supermarkets deserted, vandalized

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 15, 2017 - 19:46

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Amid escalating tension between South Korea and China over Seoul’s decision to deploy a US advanced defensive missile system, a short video taken by a longtime Beijing resident shows an empty Lotte Mart store in Beijing on Tuesday.

“Tonight, at local grocery spot Lotte, a South Korean supermarket chain targeted in a state-directed boycott. Shades of anti-Japan sentiment several years ago,“ the foreign resident, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote on his Facebook page. 

He said “(There are) usually long checkout lines but tonight helmeted, baton-wielding security guards outnumber shoppers“ and ”a dozen armband-clad volunteer neighborhood watch aunties at entrance.”

On Monday, a short video emerged showing an unidentified woman vandalizing a Lotte supermarket in Shenyang, according to, a local news blog. The woman in the video smashed up boxes and packages of products displayed on the shelves and gave out the middle finger in front of Lotte’s logo.

The video, however, angered some Chinese citizens. The top comment concerning the video on Chinese social network site reads "Boycott Korean products? First boycott this idiot."

The boycott of Lotte and other Korean products have intensified since Lotte finalized a land swap with the government last month. The South Korean government decided to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on land owned by Lotte. 
The Chinese government banned tour companies on selling any South Korean-related programs starting from March 15. As the Chinese government have taken incremental measures, the Chinese public has also turned their back on South Korea. 

Earlier tis week, more than 3,000 Chinese tourists refused to leave their cruise ship at Jeju Island on Saturday in a protest against the THAAD deployment.

A growing number of hostile events against South Korea has left South Koreans living in China feeling unsafe.

“Be it at a supermarket or taking a cab, Chinese people ask me why South Korea threatens China with THAAD,” a South Korean college student studying in Beijing said. “Professors told us to be careful and stay inside of the school.”