[THE INVESTOR] Unidentified Chinese men have reportedly smashed a Hyundai vehicle, in a growing backlash against South Korea’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the region.
On March 2, several Chinese men held a protest with a sign saying “Lotte has declared a war against China so leave the country,” followed by vandalizing a car made by South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor, which was parked near the Lotte Department Store in Qidong, Jiangsu province, according to Chinese media platforms.
A smashed Hyundai car is seen in this photo posted on a Chinese online community on March 2.
The Chinese men have identified themselves as part of the Communist Youth League of China. The party’s youth organization, however, said they are not related to the incident on its official Weibo account.
A photo of another vandalized South Korean car with a flat tire and broken window was uploaded on Weibo, claiming the damage was part of Chinese retaliation against the decision to deploy the US THAAD system -- which Beijing believes hurts its security interest in the region.
The local Chinese public security office has responded to the series of accidents by warning people not to violate the law, calling for “rational patriotism.”
However, Seoul authorities have voiced concerns about THAAD fallout for Korean firms, especially those operating in China.
Chinese people and media have reacted with rage after Korea’s Defense Ministry signed a land swap deal on Feb. 28 with Lotte Group that allows authorities to deploy THAAD on land that is part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, southeast of Seoul.
Shortly after the decision, Lotte suffered a series of apparent retaliatory measures. Lotte Group’s website in China was shut down, as well as its duty-free website due to a cyberattack. In addition, its products were removed from popular online shopping malls in China such as JD.com and Jumei.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)