31st May 2023 – (Macao) K-pop super group Blackpink has landed in hot water with Chinese fans after referring to concertgoers in Macau as “Macanese” instead of “Chinese” on social media. The group’s two concerts in Macau, a special administrative region of China, were held on 20th and 21st May. Chinese and Hong Kong celebrities, such as Angelababy, who attended the concerts were labeled as “unpatriotic” because K-pop singers have been banned in China since 2016 over the Thaad anti-missile dispute.
Reports from Korea Boo stated that fights broke out among audience members near the stage during the concert. In one video, group member Jennie was seen stopping in the middle of a song to call for security to deal with a brawl between two men in front of the stage. Another incident caught on video showed Lisa becoming agitated when a fan threw a teddy bear at her, according to KBIZoom.
On 23rd May, Blackpink posted a thank-you message to its fans, whom it calls “Blinks,” for their support during the Macau concerts on its Twitter and Weibo accounts. In both cases, the South Korean group wrote that it was deeply touched by the support of its “Macanese BLINKs.”
Almost a week went by before Chinese netizens noticed the use of the term “Macanese”. On May 29, a Chinese internet celebrity “Yellowstone PK” uploaded a post claiming that Blackpink’s use of the word “Macanese” was inappropriate because it refers to Portuguese descendants who were born and raised in Macao and do not represent the majority of the population.
The celebrity then accused Blackpink’s management company of “licking white skin” and deliberately not using the word “Chinese”. He called on officials to keep the ban on K-pop group performances in China and to boycott such groups.
This quickly sparked anger among Chinese Weibo users, and the topic soon exceeded 100 million views. Thousands of Chinese nationalists flooded Blackpink’s official Weibo page with comments such as, “Don’t be ridiculous, what are Macanese?” “Is ‘Chinese’ so difficult to type that you created a special word?” “You can’t spell ‘Chinese’, let us teach you,” and “If you want to develop in China, you must respect China and the facts!”
In an apparent response to the backlash, the original Weibo post was edited to thank “Macau BLINKs.” The original tweet was taken down and replaced with the same wording as the Weibo version.
However, many Chinese netizens are still unsatisfied, believing that the band should have thanked “Chinese BLINKs.” It is worth noting that the band does not have any concerts scheduled in China for this year’s world tour.