Better Them Than Us: Korean Nationalism Turns on China

As I suspected, the China’s censorship-by-thug on the streets of  Seoul is not proving popular among Koreans.  The Chinese  government seems to be coming to grips with the P.R. disaster it has made for itself.  Its diplomats, though not quite in a full kowtow position, are offering either an apology or whatever it is that  Asian diplomats  offer when national pride prevents one: 

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret Monday to China’s ambassador to Seoul, Ning Fukui, over the incident, which led to the arrests of four people including one Chinese student. Ning said he regretted the “extreme behavior” of the Chinese protesters and expressed sympathy to South Koreans injured during the rallies. [AP, via IHT]

“What I want to stress is that Chinese people, especially Chinese students here, have good feelings for South Koreans,” the Chinese ambassador told reporters.   When asked if the Chinese embassy will cooperate with the police investigation, however, Ning avoided a direct answer. “I don’t know in detail,” he said.  [Yonhap]

A Foreign Ministry official said the envoy [Chinese]  apologized and expressed his sympathy with Korean police officers and reporters who were injured in the violence. The violence against police officers “should not have happened,” he said. [Chosun Ilbo]

Today, however,  the Chosun Ilbo constradicts itself and says the Chinese government not only “stopp[ed] short of an apology” by merely “express[ing] sympathy” to the  people its mobs attacked on the streets of Seoul,  but  is also telling the home folks a slightly different story:

In a briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, “It was an action for justice by well-meaning Chinese students who tried to prevent Tibetan secessionists from obstructing the Olympic torch relay for the Beijing Olympics. Their motive was well meant, but their action became violent. The Chinese government expresses sympathy with the victims of the violence.”

When reporters asked if the Chinese government had no intention to apologize to the Korean people, Jiang merely said, “Chinese people on the scene were well-meaning “¦. But their action for justice became violent when they tried to deter Tibetan secessionists from obstructing the Olympic torch relay.”   [Chosun Ilbo]

It seems semantic to Westerners, but in Asia, the nuance of apology and regret overshadows the character of relations  between nations.  Lee Myung Bak is now forced to express “strong regret” for the incident (read: the actions of the Chinese) and seek arrests, prosecutions, deportations, and other “stern measures.” This is entirely appropriate when a regional hegemon looses its mobs on the streets of a neighbor’s capital city to control what views can be expressed there.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister is going to raise the issue in Beijing this week.  If this were just a diplomatic tiff, it  could be handled quietly.  YouTube has obviated that course.  And legally, the Korean authorities  are compelled to act.   Everyone in  Korea has seen the video,  and the  Korean police are now  scrolling through that video to identify the particular Chinese thugs who threw rocks and bottles, and who beat and kicked protestors. 

President Lee, it should be remembered, has  made an issue of restoring the public order that Roh had allowed to erode.  If  he  lets these goon squads escape real punishment, the Korean street will be furious, and rightfully so.  If the South Korean authorities prosecute, the Chinese street will be furious, and it will probably be lost on  many of them  that doing the same thing in China  would likely earn  them a stretch in the laogai or a fatal beating in a local police station.   For a day, Seoul  became for politically repressed Chinese youth what  Tijuana is  for sexually repressed American youth.

“It is deeply regrettable that foreigners staged illegal, violent protests at a time when people here are refraining from violent rallies since the new government took office,” Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han told the Cabinet.  [Yonhap]

Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said his government will handle the case in accordance with “law and principles.”  “As the national pride has been considerably hurt by the incident, legal and diplomatic measures that can restore the national pride will have to follow,” Han, a former foreign minister, was quoted as telling a Cabinet meeting by Vice Culture Minister Shin Jae-min, who serves as a government spokesman.  [Yonhap]

And here, in one word, is what politicians of both parties now find themselves up against:  pride.  The people of both countries — Chinese and Koreans alike — are in that queasily familiar aggrieved mood, by which I do not mean to suggest moral equivalance for an instant, for this reason:

According to Chinese students here, the Chinese Embassy in Seoul contacted Chinese students in each college to urge them to take part in the torch relay ceremony.  [Joongang Ilbo]

I wonder if the students will tell the police the same thing, although you have to know that those flags, t-shirts, and buses didn’t appear by themselves. 

Public furor here has grown, with major broadcasters replaying the footage of the clashes and interviews with witnesses. Media reports stated that more than 10,000 Chinese people took to the streets during the 24-km relay in Seoul. Many were students studying in South Korea, while some flew from China to counter rallies by those protesting against Beijing’s recent crackdown on Tibetans, police said. [Yonhap]

South Korean conservatives are especially incensed. 

The level of common sense displayed by the Chinese hooligans is detestable, but how poorly must they view Korea and Koreans for them to treat us this way? Korean politicians until now have been unable to say what they wanted to China, while the so-called learned people in Korea, regardless of their ideology, have made it a habit of letting things quietly slip when they involve issues with China. We must ask ourselves whether this passive approach to China had led to such rude and haughty behavior by the Chinese.  [Chosun Ilbo]

One commentator is comparing Beijing 2008 to Berlin 1936, a comparison that I’d frankly call defensible.  But I suspect that this view is probably more typical of ordinary South Koreans who saw the video of the Chinese students’ behavior on TV:

“For a country hosting such a massive event, the Chinese Embassy should have paid more attention to making sure their people were under control,” said Lee Ji-young, a 30-year-old office worker in Seoul who was in the middle of the crowd watching the torch relay. “What I saw on Sunday was complete madness, and the police were so busy trying to protect the torch that they didn’t have time to protect Koreans.” [Joongang Ilbo]

And then there are South  Korea’s “netizens.”   There are thousands of angry comments, but things have gone beyond that:

Some angry Internet users have displayed signs of extremism. On one Internet bulletin board, a list containing the personal information of some of the Chinese nationals whose faces were made public via television footage of the demonstration, was posted. The information included names, schools and mobile-phone numbers. The board also contained such hostile commentary as: “Let’s protest against Chinese students” or “Find the leaders at each university.

 

On the same day, overwhelming traffic forced the Web site of the Chinese Students Association in Korea to shut down. In addition, an Internet community site was set up with the motto of punishing the Chinese nationals. The site drew some 1,000 Internet users who went through the procedure of signing up as members, a requirement of many Internet sites in Korea for access to the bulk of the information on any given Web site.  [The Hankyoreh]

Outrage on the right was to be expected. But I found it more interesting that the Korean left, too, is at least acting incensed.  The Hankyoreh called it “nothing short of lawlessness” and said this:

With behavior like that the Chinese protesters were doing their own damage to China’s dignity. They all either waved or wore Chinese flags and went about revealing nationalist tendencies with slogans and signs saying things like “Tibet is Chinese forever!” They physically attacked Koreans protesting China’s armed suppression of Tibetan protests, which was enough to prompt the people of the world to wonder whether Chinese nationalism is going so far that it is becoming violent. If the Chinese think those who express other views are to be attacked and erased, then it is nothing more than an expression of an intolerant collectivism. It was a far cry from the mature democratic society China is trying to show off through the Olympics.  [The Hankyoreh]

Here is a photograph in which a man described as the leader of a “progressive” party is demanding an apology from China.   Robert even links to a statement from Peoples’ Solidarity for Participatory Democracy accusing the Chinese government of organizing the student mobs.  This is one of the more ironic things I’ve heard all year. If PSPD is not a North Korean front group, you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, and PSPD has certainly joined hands with other groups on the left that have engaged in some fairly violent means of protests. The difference being:  on those occasions, it was Koreans who were engaging in violence.

In a role reversal of 2002, Korea’s right  stands to gain from a nationalist reaction.   This time, the left  follows  and hopes for  restraint it  certainly didn’t seem interested in  six years ago. 

To a degree, this is healthy.  South Korea had become far too prosaic to  drift in  the malificent currents that China’s regime has  channeled into the authorized political culture, though China’s favorables have fallen sharply in recent times.  If the hostility exceeds a  degree of enlightened wariness and  descends into  addlebrained  provocations on both sides, it  would pit  a well-armed superpower against a much smaller and richer  nation that still hosts 29,000 U.S. military personnel.

It’s also true that the stupidity of the Chinese  who created  this melee has made a great P.R. success of a modestly attended demonstration on behalf of North Korean refugees (remember them?).  What remains to be seen is whether the focus will shift from the imperial boorishness of the Chinese to the suffering of Korea’s ragged and exploited  brothers and sisters in China.  I don’t mimimize the magnitude of China’s affront against Korea this week, yet that still pales in comparison to this:

In northern China, [Jasper] Becker joined a Chinese shopkeeper to hunt for refugees, for whom the Chinese government was paying 60 [illegibile] bounties. They found one near a garbage dump. “As the shopkeeper fished around in his pocket for some plastic twine, a dirt-covered face scabrous with pellagra that looked about fifty years old shrunk back into the shadows of a hood made from grey sackcloth, like a medieval leper,” he writes. The woman, who was in fact only 28, had crossed the border in a final effort to avoid starvation. As a prisoner, she would be sent back to North Korea, to face possible torture or even death in a labor camp. Becker bargained with the shopkeeper for her freedom, ultimately paying about $24, “the market price for a North Korean life.   [Time, Austin Ramzy]

I hope the original topic of discussion will not be lost.

28 Comments

  1. It’s about time!
    I was in San Francisco on my motorcycle when the chinese olympic torch runner came through, as all traffic was stopped for this. I yelled at him from about 30 feet away telling him what I thought of his government and was practically mobbed by chinese nationalists whom were just waiting for such a thing. I’m sadly shocked at how blindly loyal so many are toward the chinese government and the absolute crap they believe so their image of china remains infallible. I’ve talked to many and have been told that Maos’ cultural revolution that starved millions to death was merely “controversial,” and the american moon-landing was faked, and the Dalai Lama is a violent terrorist. The Dalai Lama!!! I totally believe beijing is like Berlin 1936.
    What is the west doing feeding this dragon???
    I’m glad human rights are becoming a higher priority in S. Korea.




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  2. These despicable actions by an isolated brain-washed society no longer has anything to do with the Olympics. This is all about the Chinese Communist Party losing “face”. Hitler often resorted to mass rallies and nationalistic speeches when confronted by political threats.

    Ladies and gentleman study carefully. You are witnessing first hand the evolution of an isolated society drifting away from June 1989 freedom seeking generation towards a Nationalistic youth, economically euphoric, embracing fascism the likes of which the world has not seen since the 1930’s. When the Olympic closing cerimonies come to an end watch for the fascism to turn inwards. Expect marauding red “brown-shirts” to patrol the streets of Beijing “cleansing” it of all disent – deja vu 1960’s.




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  3. This is quite a dilemma for the industrialized democracies of the world, and it’s only the beginning, I think.
    China’s economy is growing over 10% a year and will likely sustain close to this for the next decade; it’s modernizing it’s military in an almost clandestine and rapid pace, and could field an army greater than the size of the entire U.S. population. This wave of nationalism is scary and should be freaking the world out. Nationalists are attacking anything critical of China. The Chinese government is supporting all sorts of sick things from the Burmese military dictatorship, Sudanese government involvement in Darfur, and the N. Korean government to say the least.
    What is going on? Why is the democratic world going along with this? I feel like we’re selling out just so we can be a bunch of couch potato’s.




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  4. We’re selling out to sell out. They see China as a fat cash cow – whether it has horns or not. Like Yahoo and Google and other technology giants doing things like giving Beijing technology to use against its own citizens – to track them down even – and to block information —- and they didn’t even sell it to them – but gave the stuff away for free just to compete in making Beijing happy…

    I remember this one Chinese grad student in Korean Studies here in the US who would blurt out, “Stupid American scholars!!” and sometimes throw his papers up in the air whenever someone said something remotely negative about China they had read somewhere.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out…

    There has never been a modern nation I can think of that was highly successful in prosperity and oppression at the same time.

    China’s economic growth has been impressive for some time now. And it has spread the wealth around enough, at least, to keep domestic pressure in check.

    But, it has a mammoth population , and you would expect, as seen the past elsewhere, that the more economic growth it gains, the more people will start to want their share of the wealth.

    Can the system in China spread that wealth out enough and remain a one party state?

    If it does, it will be a record setter…




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  5. A 23-year-old girl in eastern China who recently inherited more than 35,000 pounds sterling has given the whole amount to the State “to help the country realize the four modernizations”, the People’s Daily reported – August 5, 1981.

    April 2008 – “The members of the party will watch television programs together and participate in sessions of self-criticism and organised denunciation.”
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=12064

    I Don’t Watch CCTV
    http://www.neocha.com/defy/music!2471.html

    In Canada, where the Communists appealed to the values of free speech to get their networks on the air, the regime is using its embassies to silence the anti-Communist New Tang Dynasty Television http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-5-1/70041.html




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  6. I am a Korean-Chinese girl living in Singapore. When i heard news of this , i was nevertheless shocked and ashamed at both the behaviours of the Koreans and Chinese.

    Singaporeans, as part of a multi-cultural and multi-racial society, can fully understand the feelings of the two opposing sides when racial issues are involved.

    Korea is wrong in its action of putting all the blame on China – May i ask, which other Olympic host country has been sabotaged as badly as China? The Tibetians have even used the Olympic Games as a platform to voice their grouses.

    The Chinese still cannot control their boorish characters. My mother is a Chinese and she told me that the Chinese all have this quality in them- a bad habit that demeans the entire image of the Chinese. The action of the Chinese students could only be summed up in a word – ‘violent’.

    As all of you can see, i’m definitely caught in the middle. I would just like to request to the South Koreans and Chinese to take my parents as an example. They are proof that peace can be achieved, if mutual understanding is placed in greater importance. This may be minute to some , but believe me, it goes a long way.

    Lastly, this is a platform for NEUTRAL opinions and views. I plead with the people who comment here not to type anything that may hurt either the Koreans or the Chinese – it is no longer called ‘expressing an opinion’ if the so-called ‘opinions’ hurt the Chinese and Koreans.

    The last thing we want is another conflict between them.




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  7. Lastly, this is a platform for NEUTRAL opinions and views.

    I have some news for you, miss: I haven’t died and made you my associate editor. This is a blog, and it is most emphatically not a platform for neutral opinions (now there is an illusory concept). This blog isn’t written from China or Singapore, I’m its only censor. Also, I’d like to note that I advocate the violent overthrow of the North Korean government and would applaud the moderately violent overthrow of the Chinese government.

    I do have some limits. I don’t host race-baiting or abject stupidity, but when there’s open discussion, peoples’ feelings may get hurt. Don’t you suppose the feeling of Tibetans or North Korean refugees might be hurt by comments that reserve all of their criticism for China’s critics while disregarding the evils that China commits against its own subjects or enables in its repellent satellites?

    China may not be accustomed to having its vaunted Pride hurt, but when you slaughter and subjugate the neighbors or shove them into hell on earth, people are going to bitch about it. China wanted the Olympics. Did it not understand that inviting attention also invites scrutiny?

    I’m not so prosaic as to think that the Olympic protests are inspiring an attack of conscience among Chinese netizens with Hitler avatars. Nor do I think that protests alone will influence the ChiCom regime, which is composed of unaccountable thugs without a hint of conscience. One thing that does influence the ChiCom regime, however, is lost profits. Here’s hoping that some justly earned global revulsion will make the Beijing Olympics a financial catastrophe.




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  8. it is no longer called ‘expressing an opinion’ if the so-called ‘opinions’ hurt the Chinese and Koreans.

    Oddly enough, the sad thing is certain types of intellectuals these days in the US, like those that control university, might be surprised to find they agree with rae.

    At one time, the ACLU fought for the freedom of speech for even something as repugnant as the KKK.

    Now, we’ve got the type of people who support the ACLU talking about “hate speech” and trying to wipe it from campus (or from talk radio)….




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  9. Unless i’m very much mistaken, i posted a reply here just now. But it seems that it’s not on the page.

    In response to Joshua and usinkorea, i will write just a short reply. If two entries from me are posted, both will be about the same.

    Usinkorea, i don’t get your meaning when you say’ the sad thing is certain types of intellectuals these days in the US, like those that control university,might be surprised to find that they agree with rae’. Please enlighten me.

    Joshua, i understand your point here and yet, tell me this : True, China wanted the Olypmics. Does that mean that just because they wanted the Olypmics, others have the right to throw criticisms at them? Why the hatred? Why the discrimination? Why is it that others always think the Chinese are incompetent of doing anything to a satisfactory standard?

    For those who are suspiscious of me being defensive of China, despite me being Korean-Chinese, i embrace the Korean culture more so than i embrace the Chinese culture. I speak Korean more proficiently than Chinese, i speak Korean at home, my mother makes us Korean dishes even though she is a Chinese, and i celebrate all Korean festivals. Thus, all my opinions are not biased and neither are they defensive.

    I fear that many may doubt my ability to question world issues because i am only a student. I would like to point out to everyone that despite being a student, i am learning and am trying my very best. I request that everyone here will correct me should i make any mistakes. And i apologise if my opinions may sometimes be childish or naive.

    Give me a chance.




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  10. True, China wanted the Olypmics. Does that mean that just because they wanted the Olypmics, others have the right to throw criticisms at them?

    YES, for God’s sake. Are you implying that we don’t?

    Why the hatred?

    Do you honestly have no idea how the Chinese treat North Korean refugees?

    Why the discrimination?

    What the hell? The Chinese students — organized and egged on by their country’s embassy — went to another country and beat up its people when they peacefully expressed their views. So it’s discriminatory to protect the safety of your own people to express their views peacefully? It’s discriminatory to criticize people who behave like complete assholes? Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if a young American thug went on a rampage in Singapore:

    [A] significant number of vocal Americans were in favor of the caning, reasoning that Singapore had a right to use corporal punishment if it chooses, or that their own country did not mete out severe enough punishment to criminals. The Embassy of Singapore received numerous calls strongly supporting Fay’s punishment, often from individuals who felt that Singaporean style caning was little more than a “good spanking” when in fact it has been described as “torture” by human rights organizations and those who have received it and often results in bloody wounds, torn flesh, permanent scars and post traumatic stress disorder.

    Yes, on second thought, I blame racism.




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  11. rae,

    In the United States, from about the 1960s-1980s or so, the white supremist (racist) group called the KKK went to court against some local governments because those governments refused to give them permission to hold a parade/march to promote their hatred for non-whites.

    A liberal human rights legal group, the ACLU, went to court to support the KKK’s case. Back then, the ACLU was not defending racism. It was defending the right to free speech and association that is guaranteed in the US constitution.

    The idea, at least back then, on the liberal side was that everyone has the right to free speech — even if what they say is immoral and disgusting.

    Then, in the 1990s and especially since the early 2000s, liberal groups, especially those controlling colleges, have started a movement against “hate speech.”

    In some cases, the idea is that if your speech act tends to offend someone (especially someone from certain groups), then you are harassing them with hate speech for which you can be punished.

    The idea of “hate speech” regulations have been challenge in American courts, usually related to cases at university, and the US Supreme Court, from what I’ve heard, has always struck down the hate speech regulations as unconstitutional.

    So, the system in the US is working to protect free speech in this area, but it is clear that there has been a significant movement on the left away from the idea that all speech is free.




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  12. Does that mean that just because they wanted the Olypmics, others have the right to throw criticisms at them?

    People were criticizing China before it won the right to host the Olympics and people will continue to criticize China afterwards, just like people criticize other countries, including the US.

    Why the hatred?

    I lived in China for four years. I do not hate the Chinese people, and I’m sure our blogger host and regular commenters do not hate the Chinese people either. We do hate the way the Chinese government treats the most vulnerable like North Korean refugees and hapless peasants whose land is stolen for development and those who advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable like the eighty-year-old AIDS activist Dr. Gao Yaojie and blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng.

    Why the discrimination?

    What discrimination?

    Why is it that others always think the Chinese are incompetent of doing anything to a satisfactory standard?

    Westerners are not a monolith speaking with one voice. There is a spectrum of attitudes towards China in the West.

    Besides, even the Chinese don’t trust the quality of their own goods and services. When my apartment was renovated, my landlord was there supervising the entire time to make sure that the contractor used proper materials and installed them correctly and completely. One of the few programs I watched regularly on CCTV was 质量报告 (zhiliang baogao), a weekly expose of unsafe food production and handling practices. Watching that program was an effective appetite suppressant. It’s not that the Chinese can’t make quality products. Haier Chairman and CEO Zhang Ruimin is legendary, and Haier’s electronic goods are reliable. The high standards of Haier are an exception in an economy where competition is cut-throat and profit margins razor-thin, putting pressure on manufacturers and service providers to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing revenues. This often means substituting inferior and sometimes unsafe materials and ingredients.

    As you are from Singapore, Rae, I’m guessing you are unaccustomed to vigorous and uncensored public discussion and debate. Come out and express yourself, sister. 你要说什么就说!




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  13. Looks like my comment got caught in the spam trap. I didn’t have any links, so it must have been the inclusion of evil Chinese characters that set off the alarm. Your spam trap discriminates against the Chinese language, Joshua!




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  14. Everyone, let me make my intentions clear.

    I am not here to pick a fight with everyone. I’m simply trying to let people see THE OTHER SIDE of things. After reading many many many articles on the internet about the Chinese student-Koreans conflict, what i came to realize is that news and articles are always one-sided.

    Sonagi, you are right that because i come from Singapore, i don’t exactly voice my opinions out loud. What you guys hear about Singapore is true : We’re not oppressed but we don’t exactly have a free-speech policy. See why people call us a ‘soft-authoritarian regime’? But i repeat ‘ I come here in peace, with the sole intention of giving my 2 cents’ worth on this. I do not want to hurt the feelings of anyone and have tried not to do so.

    All i’ve been saying is all about PEACE. None of any conflicts that has happened in the past is any one party’s fault. Even Hitler had his reasons. And speaking from the point of view of someone whose grandparents have been killed by the Japanese, i believe that even the Japanese had their reasons for doing what they did. So there.

    Joshua, i would like to repeat that i am KOREAN-CHINESE and YES, i am FULLY AWARE of how the Chinese treat North Korean refugees , perhaps even more than you do. By the way, we’re not talking about North Korea here, that’s another story. I personally AM ASBOLUTELY sickened by the behaviours of the Chinese, if anyone needs more elaboration. I feel that you have brought up a very valid point anyway, and thanks for informing me explicitly about how we have the right to criticise other countries. Really. Thanks. (NO SARCASM INTENDED HERE)

    Hope i made my point. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions. Thanks, usinkorea!

    By the way, sorry if my post sounds aggressive. It’s just that many people have been overlooking what i typed. I’m not angry ; just highlighting the parts that people have chosen to skip over.

    Oh and again, Joshua, i just read the last part of your post. I’m very sorry, i am not in a position to question how my own government punishes people. For your information, a lot of Singaporeans, myself included, DID NOT FEEL THAT WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO PUNISH THE CITIZENS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY,with specific reference to the issue you brought up. Many of us were against it. If you’re going to give me some other article on how Singaporeans were in favour of the punishment, well, ask them then.

    We Singaporeans, despite anything you have heard about us, are kind and gracious and forgiving people. If you want to raise an issue about the American, bring it up to my Government. I am in no position to criticise them. Remember?




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  15. Rae,

    Are you sure you didn’t go to college in the US or Canada or maybe Western Europe?

    I do not want to hurt the feelings of anyone and have tried not to do so.

    You can hurt our feelings. We’re all adults. We can take it. Seriously.

    And I doubt anyone is going to be so hurt we’ll fly over to Singapore and crack some heads because of it.

    All i’ve been saying is all about PEACE.

    Odd statement. I can guess where it is coming from. But, just think about it for a minute —– think about where and how the “peace” has been broken and who you are defending (and whose opinions you are attacking):

    Nobody is at war — none of the parties in question.

    In fact, you are defending actual acts of violence done by the hands of the Chinese protesters.

    You are defending them against the verbal textual criticism of such violent acts on the internet. You are criticizing acts of speech that have no chance of hurting anyone —- except perhaps someone’s feelings.

    (By the way, I want to make clear, your speaking your opinion is good. My criticism isn’t meant to be an attempt to shut you up. It is meant to look into what logic or facts and so on you are using in your opinion —- meaning – we are engaging in an open debate. I certainly would not advocate closing such a debate. Most certainly not because it might hurt some adult’s feelings….)

    You are speaking out against criticism of violent physical acts for 2 reasons: 1. speaking out against China’s foreign policy hurt China’s feelings and thus the later violent acts of the Chinese protesters were justified understandable. And 2. The heavy criticism of the violent acts of Chinese protesters currently going on in the Internet will only further hurt China’s feelings and cause more (physical) harm to come.

    That’s fascinating.

    So, if the Chinese government decides to drop a nuke on Seoul, the Koreans were only asking for it?

    ….Because China would have a good reason for nuking Seoul based on our continued criticism of China and the acts of violence in Seoul of some Chinese citizens….!!!….

    Sounds like an exaggeration (and it is), but then we read in your statement:

    All i’ve been saying is all about PEACE. None of any conflicts that has happened in the past is any one party’s fault. Even Hitler had his reasons.

    This is contemporary 21st Century higher education at its very worst.

    I’m sure Hilter had his reasons too.

    He wrote a book about them. It’s called My Battle or Mein Kampf. I’ve read it.

    So f-ing what?

    This is what relativistic bullcrap shoved down the throats of good intentioned young adults in college leads to!!!

    It’s an insult to humanity and human intelligence.

    A boy is abused as a child. So, when he grows up to rape and murder a whole family, it is “understandable”. He had “reasons” that led him to it. Who are we to judge?

    Hitler had “reasons” for what he did. Who are we to judge?

    Who are “we” to say Juche doesn’t work? —- something I famously infamously overheard a bright, intelligent, scholarship-holding Korean Studies grad student say after a panel discussion on North Korea —– as she sought to be such a good person by being so open minded.

    It makes me want to vomit to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

    Let me get back to our original topic to perhaps clear up any possible misunderstandings about what I’m saying:

    I do not believe any Koreans would be justified in flying to China for the Olympics and using violence to protest the use of violence by Chinese citizens in Korea.

    I do not believe any Korean in Korea should attack any Chinese person currently in Korea due to what happened at the protests that started this discussion.

    I do NOT —— NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT —- believe such acts by any Koreans would be “understandable” or “reasonable” —- whether or not some Koreans might point to the violent acts done by Chinese protesters recently as “a reason” for why they might attack a Chinese person.

    No. Violent acts in response to the unreasonable acts done by the Chinese at the protests in Korea would be unreasonable.

    However, our textual criticism of the acts of the Chinese protesters is reasonable.

    Even your round-about defense of the Holocaust (since even Hitler had a reason, don’t you know…) is reasonable debate material. The idea itself is highly unreasonable, but your right to say it – to give your opinion on it – is more than reasonable.

    Whether I find it insulting, or whether you find my response to it insulting, doesn’t matter much. This is an open forum and debate.

    Anyone familiar with contemporary higher education in many (Western) nations would be familiar with how someone might have their minds twisted enough to be able to say something so morally repulsive as you did concerning The Holocaust.

    But some of us have overcome our indoctrination and can still find a way to say that —– your round-about justification of The Holocaust is ultimately ignorant and immoral as is the fact that you have been trained to believe that by holding that very opinion, you are simply showing how “understanding” and “open minded” and “peace loving” you are.

    (That is morally repulsive too – but since higher education doesn’t believe in “morals”, I guess they won’t find any problem with what I have to say…)

    Your justification of the violent acts done by Chinese protesters is wrongheaded.

    Your attempt to chastise us for verbally criticizing those violent physical acts is wrongheaded.

    But, you are and should be completely free to express those opinions here and on the Internet.

    All I have done is offer my opinion.

    If they might hurt your feelings. OK. I can’t really say I’m “sorry”. I would be sorry that you felt any deep sense of hurt. I would not want to cause you any real mental or emotional anguish.

    But my recommendation would be to avoid reading about such politically charged things on the internet and certainly avoid engaging in a debate on them —– if you get your feelings hurt so easily.

    And I should be clear —– I find your statement about Hitler morally repulsive and inexcusable —– unreasonable —– and insulting to millions who died horrible deaths because of Hitler’s “reasons”…

    ….but I am not calling you a morally repulsive person.

    From what very little I’ve heard from you, you seem like a fairly reasonable person. You showed you want to be a very good person. However, you seem to be showing that the desire to be “open-minded” and “good” and “peace loving” —— has led you to learn some ideas that have twisted your thinking.




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  16. Rae,

    Joshua will soon speak for himself, but it seems to me that perhaps you have misinterpreted his reason for citing the case of the American kid who was caned for vandalism. I believe his reason for bringing up the case was not that he thought the caning was wrong but that many Americans supported the Singaporean government’s right to enforce its laws against foreigners, too.

    I went back and reread your two posts. You make general references to blaming and criticizing the Chinese. It would be more relevant to this thread if you could be specific about what parts of Joshua’s post you find objectionable. Cut and paste the parts you disagree with and then explain why.

    If you’re interested in debating issues related to Korea with people of other nationalities, check out the Marmot’s Hole, but be forewarned that threads get bogged down by a lot of bickering between ethnic Koreans and former and present Western expats. Just sidestep the verbal doggie doo, and share your very different perspective as a Korean-Chinese woman living in Singapore. As a contributing blogger there, I cordially invite you to have a look, but make sure your skin is thick enough to stand comments way more offensive than whatever seems to have bothered you on this blog. If you’re not able to tune out negativity and whining, just read the posts only and not the comment threads.




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  17. I have a couple of things to address here:

    1)Usinkorea, no, i do not go to any foriegn colleges or school. I’ve always been educated in this very Westernised system of Singapore, and yet trust me, i’m still very traditional in terms of idealogies. But since you say that, i shall speak bluntly.

    For me defending the actions of the Chinese, i have repeated over and over again:I understand very well what the Chinese Government has done, and i do not need more highlighting from all of you. I may be young but (sorry if this sounds egotistical ) i am very well-read and well-travelled. My point here is that many of you think that i’m some ignorant little kid who doesn’t know what governments do.

    Bloody hell, if i come on here without knowing anything, then my defences aren’t justified. However, I DO KNOW YES I KNOW for the very very very last time.

    2)If you’re interested in debating issues related to Korea with people of other nationalities, check out the Marmot’s Hole, but be forewarned that threads get bogged down by a lot of bickering between ethnic Koreans and former and present Western expats.

    I’m sorry Sonagi, i am not a debator and do not want to debate with others other such things. I believe that as Asians, we must all be able to live together in harmony. I do not represent Western expats.

    I believe his reason for bringing up the case was not that he thought the caning was wrong but that many Americans supported the Singaporean government’s right to enforce its laws against foreigners, too.

    So? Elaborate please?

    3)By the way, i do not feel offended by anything on this blog. Hell, all of you have a point! And obviously, my knowledge is limited to what little i know about world politics. Denfinitely, if i try to compete with you guys, i will lose.

    I’M NOT ASKING ANYBODY TO SUPPORT MY OPINIONS. NO ONE CAN COMPLETELY AGREE WITH ANOTHER PERSON’S OPINIONS .IF I’M AS STUPID TO ASK THAT OF EVERYBODY, GO AHEAD, COME AND SLANDER ME ALL YOU WANT. BUT ALL I’M ASKING FOR IS UNDERSTANDING, SO PLEASE BE MORE FORGVING IN THAT SENSE AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND ME, WELL, NO MATTER HOW STUPID IT MIGHT SOUND.

    My feelings don’t get hurt easily and yes, i am VERY thick-skinned. I am not offended nor i am angry with all of you ; everybody has their own opinions right? What i want to do is just put my opinions into perspective and let everybody see a different spectrum ; not for people to repeatedly point out mistakes here and there.

    I didn’t come here with the intention of starting a debate please.

    4)Don’t bring Singapore into this. Trust me, Singapore is even more complicated than China and Korea put together. If you don’t believe me, you can ask any Singaporean you may know. I do not wish to talk about Singapore here. Complete with all its shortcomings, all my fellow Singaporeans, despite my heritage, have accepted me into part of its society. I’m grateful to them and do not have anything against the Government.

    5)From what very little I’ve heard from you, you seem like a fairly reasonable person. You showed you want to be a very good person. However, you seem to be showing that the desire to be “open-minded” and “good” and “peace loving” —— has led you to learn some ideas that have twisted your thinking.

    It may be reasonable to say that my thinking has been ‘ twisted ‘. I’m sorry, i live in a tiny city-state, a little red dot and has been very protected since young. Now that i’m older, i want to explore some of my limits and break through them. Thank You Usinkorea for that statement.

    6) Singaporean style caning was little more than a “good spanking” when in fact it has been described as “torture” by human rights organizations and those who have received it and often results in bloody wounds, torn flesh, permanent scars and post traumatic stress disorder.

    Erm, Joshua, EXCUSE ME, but this is ridiculous.Please, we’re may not be the most merciful people in the world but we do have consciences. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER? Back to my original point, i did not think that the Chinese students cannot be punished in the same way. In fact ,i’m all for it. I’m all behind South Korea in teaching these students a great lesson that they will remember for life. Perhaps you misunderstood me.

    Anybody ever wondered why Singapore has a very small number of repeat offenders and a low crime rate ? Hmmm….maybe it’s time to think about that.

    IN CONCLUSION, my belief is that ALL countries ALL have the right to punish foreigners, SHOULD THE CRIME THAT THEY COMMITTED BE SERIOUS ENOUGH. In the case of the Chinese students, i wonder why the South Korean Government let them off like that…..

    Get my point?




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  18. I have certain issues to address here

    1)Joshua, i’m not saying that ‘it’s discriminatory to protect the safety of your own people to express their views peacefully? It’s discriminatory to criticize people who behave like complete assholes? ‘What i am saying is that it is discriminatory to believe that the Chinese can’t do anything that will be up to a satisfactory standard. Dude, you misunderstood me. So all that you said that has nothing to do with what i meant.

    Singaporean style caning was little more than a “good spanking” when in fact it has been described as “torture” by human rights organizations and those who have received it and often results in bloody wounds, torn flesh, permanent scars and post traumatic stress disorder.

    Oh for heaven’s sake, it seems as though you want me to say that all these is NOT TRUE isn’t it? Well,let me tell you something. The Singaporean Government does not report a lot to its citzens so we have no way of knowing the truth. But let me tell you ; I am completely behind the South Korean Government if they want to punish those Chinese students the way Singapore punished the American. Teach them a good lesson that they will remember for life. And it’s not going to be ‘a little spanking’ either. Makes you wonder why Singapore’s crime rate is so low and repeat offenders are rare ,eh?

    2)If you’re interested in debating issues related to Korea with people of other nationalities, check out the Marmot’s Hole, but be forewarned that threads get bogged down by a lot of bickering between ethnic Koreans and former and present Western expats.

    I’m sorry, Sonagi, i’m not interested in debating with people of other nationalities. My belief is that all Asians should live in harmony with each other. Slandering each other isn’t the way to go.

    3)No, i didn’t go to college in the US and am not planning to. Incidentally, i’m planning to pursue a law degree in South Korea’s Seoul National University after i leave Junior College.

    However, our textual criticism of the acts of the Chinese protesters is reasonable.

    I agree with you here. I didn’t say that you guys couldn’t criticise them. To clear up misunderstandings, kindly look up to my post to Joshua , under the 3rd paragraph, last line.

    I’m sure Hilter had his reasons too.

    He wrote a book about them. It’s called My Battle or Mein Kampf. I’ve read it.

    I’ve read Mein Kampf too. I’m a history major in school; it’s translated My Struggle. No violent acts are justified, no matter what the reasons may be. The acts of the Chinese students are NOT justified for goodness sake. Sorry if i led anybody to believe that.

    Your justification of the violent acts done by Chinese protesters is wrongheaded.

    Your attempt to chastise us for verbally criticizing those violent physical acts is wrongheaded.

    But, you are and should be completely free to express those opinions here and on the Internet.

    I repeat : I did not justify the violent acts of the Chinese students. Come on, it’s ridiculous to jusify them. Everybody knows they’re wrong? I’m not that dumb. Sorry for not making myself clear.

    And I should be clear —– I find your statement about Hitler morally repulsive and inexcusable —– unreasonable —– and insulting to millions who died horrible deaths because of Hitler’s “reasons”…

    I’m not pro-Hitler and i am extremely sympathetic to the millions who died at his hands. And i’m not saying this because it isn’t my own people. Half my extended family was killed during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore in the year 1942-1945. Out of 10 children, only 3 survived the war . The rest were all killed.My own father was nearly killed himself. My maternal grandparents were captured and tortued into insanity. They’re still alive but they cannot recognise my mother nor any of us. I have friends whose grandparents were brainwashed and tortued.Don’t i have a very good reason to hate the Japanese? I do. But i don’t.

    In the case of Hitler, he did not have the good fortune to grow up in a happy and stable household. He did not have a happy adulthood either.It is therefore unavoidable that he will grow up with a very warped mind. Am i correct? His killing of the millions of innocent Jews during the Holocaust were of course not justified. I went to Auschwitz concentration camp last year in Germany, and i really cried when i went there.

    Hitler’s ‘reasons’ caused many people to die and many to suffer. But do you agree with me on this: ‘His malicious acts were attributed to a very violent childhood?’ I have a very insightful History teacher who pointed this out to us.

    Get my point?




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  19. As I said, not you. I find your idea that even Hitler had a reason for slaughtering millions of people morally repulsive.




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  20. My point here is that many of you think that i’m some ignorant little kid who doesn’t know what governments do.

    I thought we were talking about what the Chinese protesters in Seoul did?

    I had no guess as to your age or knowledge.

    more later




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  21. I’m sorry, i live in a tiny city-state, a little red dot and has been very protected since young. Now that i’m older, i want to explore some of my limits and break through them.

    What I was saying was that you sound a lot similar to a type of thinking that is typical of some college-educated people in the West – at least in the United States.

    They have been trained that “everything is relative” and that they can’t criticize anybody. Well, they have been trained that they can criticize the United States and white, male society, but they should never criticize “the Other”.

    Most American college students hear this and move on. Some students absorb it as a life philosophy.

    In the case of the Chinese students, i wonder why the South Korean Government let them off like that…..

    Because the Chinese government suspended Olympic activities related to Korean sports — and other Chinese pressure.

    The Chinese government has shown over the last 5 to 10 years that it is very good at reminded South Korea how much money South Korea makes in China. They thump Korea in the head when Beijing thinks Korea is being unreasonable.

    On Hitler —

    Everything has a reason. So what?

    Bad people have a reason for doing horrible things.

    At what point in your thinking does the fact every action has a reason begin to lesson the criticism of that act?

    I don’t care if Hitler’s father beat him everyday and kept him locked in a closet until he was 25.

    I have no problem hating Hitler and hating Nazis.

    At what point does it become necessary for you to translate hatred of Hitler into hatred of all Germany and all Germans – including Germans born after World War II?

    (Reference: “Don’t i have a very good reason to hate the Japanese? I do. But i don’t.”)




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