Asia News: Korean Limits Lifted, K-pop Icons 2NEI Reunite; China’s Cui Jian Sets Record


Audience Limits Lifted

South Korea’s Culture Ministry lifted audience limits April 17 for concerts and live performances, according to the Korea Herald, which said that the change is “expected to revitalize the performing arts and theater sectors hit hard by the pandemic.”

In addition, the authorities will allow food and drink to be sold and consumed in all cultural facilities, including movie theaters, indoor sporting venues and religious facilities.

2NE1 Coachella
INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: (L-R) Bom, Minzy, CL, and Dara of 2NE1 perform with 88rising onstage at the Coachella Stage during the 2022 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 16, 2022 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella)

The one COVID-related rule that will be maintained is that masks must be worn at all venues, whether indoors or outdoors, when attendees are not eating or drinking. However, there will be no regulations in place limiting seating or maintaining distance between patrons. For instance, the National Theater of Korea will discard its one empty seat spacing policy starting on April 19 for all seats being sold for events after June 1

The Culture Ministry has “advised” against standing performances and still recommends that audiences not chant or sing out during concerts.

2NE1 Reunites At Coachella

Two prominent Asian acts performed at the revived 2NE1, at one time the reigning “queens of K-pop” reunited for their first public performance since breaking up in 2016 to sing their 2010 hit “I Am the Best,” following the solo performance of member CL, who sang on the main stage on Saturday.

The performances were part of the showcase of Asia-oriented record label 88rising, which also included Chinese singer Jackson Wang, Thai rapper Milli, as well as artists from Indonesia.


Cui Jian Sets Streaming Record

Global Times reports that legendary Chinese rocker Cui Jian’s first-ever online concert set records in China for number of views.

The 61-year-old Cui’s 4 hour-long show was live-streamed on April 15 and watched by almost 45 million people.

Due to the heavy traffic, the concert was occasionally interrupted when the server crashed. Even after the live portion was over, hundreds of thousands of viewers remained online to watch the replay.

For most, the concert was a blast of relief after the rollercoaster of bad news accompanying the pandemic in China.

Cui, as one fan told Global Times, is closely associated with the late 1980s, when China was just beginning to rise as an economic world power. Cui’s family is of Korean background and both his parents were artists. He was considered the first rock artist to gain approval from the authorities, despite his personal style of writing.

However, music insiders also told Global Times that the concert has firmly established online shows as a viable alternative to live shows in their own right. Up until now, online concerts were considered necessary stopgaps to make up for the absence of live concerts, but Cui proved otherwise.

In essence, Cui showed the online concerts can be profitable. Between 2019 and the beginning of 2021, the number of livestream viewers increased from 116 million to 190 million. But Cui’s concert by itself more than doubled that number.