New South Korean TV show Descendants of the Sun has smashed ratings, becoming one of the most watched shows in China and South Korea. The 16-episode drama premiered in February and soon became a rage among viewers, thanks to its engaging content and spectacular visuals. The series soon became a trending topic on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.
As a result, China's Ministry of Public Security took to social media to warn people of the social ills of too much viewing. "Watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and may even lead to legal troubles," the ministry warned in a Weibo post during the weekend.
The department then cited some real-life cases of domestic violence, divorce and plastic surgery, all of which it related to an obsession with Korean dramas and accompanied with photos of similar incidents from various Korean television series, reports CNBC.
Many Weibo users took the ministry's post with a pinch of salt.
"This isn't the fault of Korean drama but has to do with IQ," one Weibo user commented. Another added: "Although I don't like Korean dramas but these are all individual cases. [Those involved] lack IQ."
The huge success of Descendants of the Sun is the latest example of Hallyu, which means Korean Wave, and refers to the growing popularity of South Korean pop culture.
The public security ministry's warnings are not without good reason. There have been some incidents of Korean drama-induced lunacy in the past. In 2014, another hit South Korean series, My Love from the Star, sparked such a craze in China for Korean fried chicken that a pregnant woman reportedly almost suffered a miscarriage after wolfing down fried chicken and beer — the food favoured by the lead actress in the series.
In March, a 20-year-old Chinese woman was reportedly diagnosed with acute glaucoma after an 18-hour Korean drama binge-watching session.
Descendants of the Sun, a romance set against military operations in a fictional country, has spurred interest in cosmetics, smartphones and fashion products featured on the show.
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