Blackpink's member Lisa. (Photo: iQIYI's reality show Youth With You official Sina Weibo account)
Chinese fans showed concern for K-pop star Lisa, the Thai member of South Korean girl band Blackpink, after she received a death threat on social media.
On Saturday a netizen going by the username @Ma0be554 posted on Twitter that "Once BLACKPINK has their comeback stage, I am going to shoot BLACKPINK's Lisa, and you can say goodbye to your bias because that's the last time you'll ever see her ugly face again."
Hundreds of thousands of netizens, including many Chinese, took to Twitter to criticize the account, calling for an end to the threatening behavior. The account was later suspended for violating the platform's TOS.
The hashtag for the news about the death threat had earned 1.23 billion views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Tuesday afternoon, with many Chinese fans leaving worried or comforting messages on Lisa's official Sina Weibo account in Chinese, Thai and English.
"It is so horrible to see the news. YG Entertainment needs to call police officers for an investigation. The cyber-bullying phenomenon toward celebrities is becoming worse, and we need to take more strict actions to punish this evil," one Chinese netizen posted on Sina Weibo.
This is not the first time that the star has received death threats.
According to reports, in early April a user on Instagram also posted a photo of Lisa beneath a tomb with the words "I will kill Lisa. I have my gun already."
Zhao Binran, a member of a Lisa fan club living in East China's Shanghai Municipality, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he thinks this may have just been a troll since he feels someone who really wanted to kill someone would be less likely to make the information public.
"The police and agencies for the star will investigate this kind of behavior made in bad taste. After all, the news has already been made public, so they will be the target of even greater condemnation if they are derelict in their duty."
Zhao said YG Entertainment most likely will not cancel any announcements or events because of these threats.
"Otherwise, YG Entertainment's competitors would hire various netizens to carry out these types of cyber attacks online," he said.
YG Entertainment confirmed Monday that Blackpink is scheduled to release a new album in June, which will be their first album in 2020, South Korean news site Soompi reported on Monday.
Some Chinese fans also expressed concern for Lisa's mental health, recalling the suicides of South Korean singers Suli and Goo Hara.
However, Zhao said he has faith in his idol since he and his fan club friends all think Lisa is a very rational person who can handle the difficulties she encounters as a public figure.
Lisa is not the first celebrity to receive death threats. Many other stars around the world have dealt with these threats including K-pop boy band BTS's Jimin, Indian actor Aamir Khan and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
"Death threats are an extreme example of cyberbullying that is much more severe than the usual insults, defamation and the spreading of rumors. Any condemnation is useless in stopping this behavior," Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
He suggested that the law is the best protective measure.
"Even if litigation takes a long time and the costs are high, these people must be informed that network security is also a part of personal security, and that the internet is not beyond the law."