“The Sacrifice,” a Chinese film, depicts Chinese soldiers attempting to repair a bridge while under fire from South Korean and American troops during one of the most difficult periods of the Korean War.
The film was a tremendous blockbuster in China when it was released in 2020, but it received a far different reception in South Korea this week ahead of its planned distribution on streaming platforms. Politicians and internet users were outraged that the film was allowed to be screened in the country since it depicts a fight that killed thousands of South Koreans.
“Does any other country in the world display movies of its own military being annihilated?” demanded ruling party leader Kim Jin-tae on Facebook, accusing the film of “beautifying” the deaths of South Korean soldiers. Kim demanded that the film be banned, repeating the conservative opposition’s long-held criticism that President Moon Jae-left-leaning in’s administration has bowed down too readily to China, South Korea’s major trading partner.
During a session of the National Assembly on Sept. 8, Culture Minister Hwang Hee announced that the film had been removed and will not be released in South Korea. Hwang did not say if the government or the fiduciary was to blame.
This rising anti-China attitude complicates an already tense relationship, and it may cloud meetings between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong on Tuesday in Seoul. The two sides are expected to discuss issues of mutual concern, such as how to re-engage North Korea in disarmament negotiations.
The uproar over the film parallels other recent outbursts of anti-China sentiment. Following public protest, the development of a major complex catering to Chinese tourists was halted earlier this year, and the television drama “Joseon Exorcist” was shelved because South Korean netizens objected to representations of Korean history.