Under construction China Town sparks anti-Beijing sentiment

A Chinatown in South Korea expected to be completed in 2022 has sparked anti-Chinese sentimentwith a petition calling for an end to its construction.“An online petition has been filed on the Cheong Wa Dae [government] website recently, calling foran end to the ongoing construction of a Chinatown and Legoland in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province,”reported an English-language newspaper The Korea Times.The petition has gained more than 415,000 signatures until now.“The petitioner wrote that Koreans do not understand why Korea should provide culturalexperiences from China, or why there should be a ‘little China’ in Korea.”Korea-China Culture Town will feature “a range of facilities and attractions”, including traditionalChinese gardens, and will be 10 times the size of South Korea’s only “official” Chinatown, in Incheon.The Korea-China Culture Town was planned – alongside the Legoland theme park, which will includea hotel catering to Chinese visitors – to drive tourism to the region.Explaining their opposition to the development, the person who posted the petition wrote: “Even ifexchanges and cooperation are important in Korea-China relations, it is incomprehensible amidrecent cultural feuds.”The petitioner cited recent controversies caused by Chinese influencers and websites claimingkimchi, hanbok and other traditional Korean cultural items as their own, calling these an attempt todistort Korea’s history and plunder Korean culture.In 2019, before international tourism was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, South Korearecorded 17.5 million visitor arrivals, of whom 6 million were Chinese, according to the KoreaTourism Organisation.Moreover, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese and Koreans engaged themselves in a digitalwar over the origins of delicacies, dress and even acupuncture.

Tags: South Korea, China, Chinatown, Coronavirus

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