During an event in Seoul last week, while the girl group members knelt down and touched the floor with their foreheads in traditional Korean style, Wang used a Chinese hand gesture to express thank you.
In South Korea, kneeling remains in use to show gratitude and offer thanks.
Soon after their performance, the group’s video went viral on social media platform Weibo as fans remained divided over the gesture.
“If you hate doing Korean New Year’s greeting that much, why are you still promoting in Korea?” wrote one fan.
In comparison, one follower commented: “Chinese people don’t kneel down. I’m proud of this idol who keeps Chinese traditions. You did a great job, Wang Yiren”.
Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times: “Wang just went to South Korea for work, not to become a South Korean. She pursues her career in the country by spending a lot of effort in singing and dancing, which shows her love of K-pop culture. However, this does not mean she has to follow all South Korean culture.
“If you kneel, you will be scolded by Chinese netizens, and if you don’t kneel, you will be scolded by Korean netizens. It’s really hard to be an artist!” another Weibo user wrote.
Neither Wang nor Everglow’s representatives have issued a statement about the incident yet. The Independent has contacted them both for comment.
On Sunday (9 January), Yue Hua Entertainment announced that Wang will return to China till next month “to see her family and pursue study.”
“Yiren has to go back to China from mid-January till the end of February due to her academic status, so she will be taking a break there for a while to spend time with her family, whom she hasn’t seen in a long time because of Covid-19,” the statement said.
“Everglow will continue their domestic activities with five members, and carry out their schedule as planned.”
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