SEOUL, March 7 (Korea Bizwire) – Adding to Lotte’s recent misery in its business operations in China, the South Korean retail giant has recently been the target of fake news on Chinese online communities that promoted anti-Lotte and anti-Korean sentiment.
According to sources from China, an alleged interview with Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin went viral on Chinese online communities including Weibo, the country’s biggest microblogging platform, with the interview supposedly conducted by a South Korean media outlet called “Global News Eye.”
Shin’s quotes included some controversial remarks such as “Chinese are like racketeers” and “poor Chinese will start buying products once we lower prices,” when he was purportedly asked about the THAAD system being deployed in South Korea and Lotte’s business ventures in China.
A local source said “many Chinese have already come across this interview,” adding that “a majority are taking it as fact.”
Lotte was quick to denounce the alleged report.
The group’s Chinese office said Monday that the interview by Global News Eye circulating on Weibo is “fabricated, irrational, and an absurd lie,” adding that no news media in the name of “Global News Eye” even exists in South Korea. “Lotte Group has not interviewed with any press with regard to THAAD or its Chinese business ventures,” the company said.
Lotte also noted that it will call on Chinese authorities to help prevent further proliferation of fake news, while emphasizing that its decision to provide the land site for the American missile defense system was inevitable.
“It was a decision based on Korea’s political policy, and Lotte, as a mere company, had no other options,” it said. “Lotte has always had affection towards China, and over the recent years, we’ve made significant investments in the China Western Development project and the Northeast Area Revitalization Plan, as well as donating 10 million Chinese yuan ($1.45 million) as part of our CSR efforts.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)