A video has surfaced of a Chinese woman damaging goods and eating snacks without paying at Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart.
In the clip, she crushes packages of snacks, eats cookie sticks, opens packages of instant noodles, and drinks from containers before putting them back on the shelves.
The Korean retailer is caught in the crossfire over China’s displeasure at the deployment of the US military’s THAAD antimissile system. Protests have sprung up in front of its stores, its products have been pulled from Chinese shopping sites, business partners have pulled out, and boycott calls have emerged online.
Video footage of the woman’s escapades were set to the patriotic song “Chinese people” by Cantonese singer Andy Lau. At the end of the clip, she stands in front of the supermarket entrance while holding up her middle fingers.
The video was originally uploaded to live streaming platform Kuaishou. It subsequently took down the video and issued a notice on its Weibo account on Sunday which said that it has collected the evidence and all information about the user and handed the matter over to police.
The Kuaishou user’s profile said she was a young woman living in Shenyang, with 110 videos and over 5,000 fans. She livestreams every evening at 6pm, according to screenshots posted by Weibo users.
Commentators on Weibo reposts of the video criticised her actions as stupid and called her “brainless.” One said she must have wanted to go viral so badly that she lost her mind, and another said, simply: “boycott fools.”
The Shenyang cybersecurity police said on its official Weibo account that they are aware of the case and are handling it.
One verified Weibo account belonging to a police officer with the cybersecurity unit in Shenyang said: “Patriotism is rational. Some people who use the name of patriotism to do things that discredit the country are either stupid or bad!”
Lotte signed a land use deal with the South Korean military on February 28 which allowed the military to use a golf course it owns to store a THAAD battery. The US and South Korea say the system is intended to protect South Korea from attacks against North Korea, but China fears it could be used against it, saying that it “resolutely opposes” the deployment.
State news agency Xinhua has been criticising the retailer’s decision since mid-February, calling it akin to “assisting a bloodthirsty tiger.” Nationalistic tabloid Global Times called for a boycott in an editorial.
Lotte said last Wednesday that 55 of its Lotte Mart stores have been ordered to stop running temporarily – more than half of the 99 stores it currently operates in China, according to the publicly-funded Yonhap News Agency.
Another video of a woman rapping about Lotte, calling it a dog that “ignores the feelings of its master” and saying that she does not need South Korean cosmetic products was slammed by the Global Times on Tuesday. The tabloid said that the boycott is a very serious matter and that the online entertainer is discrediting patriotism.
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