The real reason Blackpink’s baby panda video has fans seeing red

Every time they drop a single or put on a big scale performance, Blackpink solidifies their rightful spot on the charts and in the hearts of fans everywhere. The K-pop group is not just “in your area,” they’re the biggest pop group in the world, with over a billion views on YouTube (via Bloomberg). It’s no surprise that the iconic foursome practically lives on Twitter’s trending page and makes headlines with their every move. Even though they burst into the music scene in 2016, they’re veterans in the amount of accolades, music video views and ticket sales they’ve collected. Their long-anticipated album, cheekily titled “THE ALBUM,” lives up to the hype and pushes boundaries with a fresh sound (via Honey Pop).

But this time, Blackpink blew up social media for the wrong reasons. In the latest episode of their online reality show, 24/365 with Blackpink, the music icons posed with a sweet baby panda named Fu Bao. Cute, right? 

Well, not quite. What was an innocent move ending up causing a major stir in China.

Weibo users thought Blackpink's photo-op with the baby panda was inappropriate and dangerous

Blackpink got major backlash on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. After the episode dropped, the hashtag “Korean artists wrongly handled panda cubs” started trending, eventually leading to Blackpink’s label taking the video down and pushing back the next episode of 24/365 amidst all of the drama. 

Let’s break down what makes this so controversial. The World Wide Fund for Nature classifies pandas as a vulnerable species, which means that there are a lot of rules in place for how they are handled and by whom. In China, there are dedicated wildlife groups that protect and care for the pandas (via BBC News). Fu Bao, which translates to “Lucky Treasure,” was on loan to South Korea from the Chinese government as a gesture of good faith and diplomacy. So seeing Blackpink holding Fu Bao, even if it was for a video, got a resounding no from the internet and actually led to animal lovers saying that they could have harmed the panda no matter their intentions (via The New York Times).

Wherever you stand on this issue, we think we can all agree that animals should be protected at all costs.

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