SEOUL/BEIJING - The popularity of South Korean drama series Descendants Of The Sun in China apparently has the nation's government on edge.
On Saturday, China's Ministry of Public Security posted a warning against watching the show on its official Weibo site.
"An enormous fandom of Korean drama Descendants Of The Sun starring Song Joong Ki has emerged as it began to air in Korea and China. It is easy to see that many have fallen in love with the male lead Song," it said, warning that "watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and even lead to legal troubles".
The 16-episode KBS2 TV drama set against the backdrop of military operations in a fictional country, starring Song and actress Song Hye Kyo, hit 440 million cumulative views on Chinese online video platform iQIYI.
The figure surpasses that for 2014 SBS hit drama My Love From The Star, Taiwanese newspaper China Times reported on Sunday.
In its Weibo post, the ministry offered examples of several extreme cases to illustrate the "potential troubles" faced by those watching Korean dramas.
It cited a couple, who divorced due to Korean dramas, and a man who underwent plastic surgery to reclaim his wife's heart. She was smitten by the male protagonist of a Korean drama.
Descendants Of The Sun was released simultaneously in South Korea and China, where iQIYI has purchased the online rights.
The drama series is also gaining popularity in South Korea, recording 14.4 per cent of viewership with its first episode that aired on Feb 24 and hitting 28.5 per cent for its sixth episode on March 10, according to AGB Nielsen, a television ratings company.
The series has also been exported to Japan at a hefty price tag of US$100,000 (S$138,000) per episode, say industry sources.
It is the first South Korean drama in nearly three years to command a six-figure sum per episode.