The 2022 Beijing Olympics is officially underway, as the international competition began on February 4, 2022 with its grand opening and introduction of all the participating countries. As viewers all over the world prepare to watch the sports festival, however, there were a few particular moments that have started to take over headlines in South Korea.
During the opening ceremony, there were numerous eye-catching moments, such as the iconic Olympic rings fireworks…
…an amazing performance using massive LED light sticks…
…and this stunning performance by Chinese dancers wearing beautiful ensembles.
However, there were a few parts of the opening ceremony that caught the eyes of Korean viewers, and they are spreading like wildfire within the nation. On an online community, a frustrated Korean netizen shared photos from the 2022 Beijing Olympics that featured some familiar Korean traditions—during China’s opening introduction.
During the flag bearing opener, China presented their flag with dozens of citizens and military officials wearing different Chinese traditional clothing. However, there were a few women wearing garments that looked very similar to the Korean hanbok, which gained immediate attention.
In addition to that, there was a portion of the opening ceremony performance that featured Chinese dancers performing their rendition of what seemed like the traditional Korean folk dance, known as pungmul. While this is a huge part of the Korean history and tradition, the 2022 Beijing Olympics captioned this segment “From Baishan Jilin (province in China)” on the screen.
During the same opening from Baishan Jilin, there was a gorgeous performance featuring dozens of women dressed in traditional garments and playing traditional drums. However, it took only one glance for Korean viewers to recognize that the clothing and instruments looked very similar to hanboks and janggus—which are traditional Korean drums known for their hourglass-shaped bodies.
Following the ceremony, it was revealed that the various traditional garments shown during the opening were worn to represent the 52 different ethnic groups living within China—including the large Korean population that currently resides in Jilin, China or more specifically, the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.
However, China’s representation attempt fell on deaf ears within South Korea. Upon seeing what looked like the Korean hanbok and other Korean cultures during the opening ceremony, Korean netizens responded with absolute outrage. Thousands of netizens began to express their ongoing frustrations and harsh criticisms for China and the Olympics.
- “I’m getting really angry,,do the fireworks and dance in the air while wearing your qipaos and your queue hairstyles you f*cking idiots.”
- “F*cking bastards they always claim everything as their culture…look at them using Choseon traditions.”
- “The Choseon era. F*cking assholes. I hate how they show off their patriotism.”
- “Wow they’re just openly doing it now..why is no one saying anything??”
- “Let’s not just get pissed off at these f*cking bastards for doing this openly. Let’s protest please.”
- “F*cking assholes.”
The Korean netizens’ magnified outrage comes from China’s previous news articles that allegedly mentioned various Korean cultures and traditions as their own. Kimchi, hanbok, “Arirang”, the Korean flag, and taekwondo have formerly been labeled as Chinese cultures in different media sites—which infuriated the Korean population.
While both nations have clear historical inspirations from one another, it seems that the ongoing cultural tensions between China and South Korea won’t be resting anytime soon. You can read more about the ongoing conflict here: