Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Lotte's China Website Hacked as Protest Against THAAD Deal

Lotte World Tower Under Construction Previewed

(Photo : Getty Images) A general view of the Lotte World from Lotte World Tower, currently under construction, on December 10, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.

The Lotte Group admitted on Wednesday that anonymous Chinese hackers have attacked its website in China, a day after it signed a deal to sell its land for a US missile defense system in South Korea. The retail giant's official website has remained inaccessible to visitors since late Tuesday afternoon.

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Hackers reportedly planted a virus to its website, a Lotte official said citing an analysis from computer security experts.

The apparent cyberattack is the latest backlash Lotte has faced in China after it agreed on a land swap deal with South Korea's defense ministry for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery. Lotte International Co., a Lotte unit, inked a deal on Tuesday to hand over a golf course in South Korea's rural city Seongju for the THAAD in exchange for another land, according to Korea Herald.

Yonhap reported that around 10 Chinese protestors rallied in front of Lotte Mart in China's Jilin province on Sunday to protest against the land swap. Activists held a red placard saying "Lotte issued a declaration of war against China and Lotte should leave China right now if it supports [THAAD]."

An editorial published by China's Global Times on Wednesday also appealed to Chinese consumers saying they are the "main force in teaching Seoul a lesson, punishing the nation through the power of the market."

China's e-commerce giant also removed its Lotte Mart section on Tuesday, after the land swap deal has been closed. explained that the deletion was caused by a technical glitch. The section has been running since July last year after the two signed a partnership deal in 2015.

Last month, Lotte said that it had shut down three retail stores in China. Lotte on Monday expressed concern about losing more business because of the ongoing tension.

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