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The Korean Church Coalition passes along this press release on Chinese efforts to stop a North Korean human rights demonstration in Seoul, how those efforts backfired, and how the Chinese response since then has exacerbated the reaction.
Officially, the best China can offer is something that’s not widely perceived as an apology by South Koreans (who can be fairly reluctant to interpret apologies as such once offended).
Unofficially, Chinese “netizens” continue to propagate asinine denials that the Chinese students attacked Koreans or other demonstrators, or even that it was the Chinese who were the real victims. Those denials defy overwhelming evidence in the form of photographs and video, but as long as the Chinese continue to deny it, I’ll keep publishing photographs and eyewitness accounts here. These pictures are less damning than Dan Bielefeld’s, but they’re interesting nonetheless, and I thank the KCC for sending them.
I’m also passed an eyewitness account from the Reverend Tim Peters (second photo), a man I know and hold in extremely high regard. In law school, when professors wanted to describe the sort of evidentiary perfection that one never finds on this earth, we would hypothesize that the event in question had been witnessed by twelve Anglican bishops. I never asked Tim his denomination, but what he says carries the weight of evidentiary perfection in my book:
Upon putting up the Let My People Go banner, within about 1 minute I was surrounded by about 200 furious Chinese students, all waving PRC flags. By God’s grace, there were about 50police between Choi Young hoon and myself and the Chinese students. Some activists were hurt, so please pray for their recovery.
Contrast that with the Chinese Street’s version: “it didn’t happen!,” and its inbred cousin, “it didn’t happen, and you should thank us for not killing you.” The “all we wanted was to throw you a party!” defense is so unintelligent as to evoke more pity than rage (I had no idea censorship was so costly to critical thinking skills). Those who can at least perceive the futility of denial turn to argumentum ad hominem: “you’re agents provocateurs,” and inevitably enough, “running dogs” and “fetid Jews.”
The Party wanted to use the Olympics to show the world what it has made of China. I guess it has. It’s hard to imagine a greater P.R. fiasco than the absolutely-not-political Olympic torch run (hard yes, but I have a fertile imagination: pour a few mojitos into Jeremiah Wright, prop him up before a live open mike, and you have history’s most memorable Superbowl halftime show). Either case would be an apt illustration of half-oblivious, half-arrogant self-immolation, a defiant secession from the civil and peaceful accomodation of differences. Horror crowds out pity.
Yet all of this has been very good for a cause that the Chinese would have preferred not to publicize, had their stupidity not exceeded their brutality:
In the months leading up to the, KCC will go all out, in a peaceful manner of course. The Chinese radicals who attacked Tim and the KCC banner in made a big mistake, because they awoke the many sleeping Koreans who until that point felt that they could not make a difference. I received many, many e mails from outrage[d] Korean Americans.
Kim will also be announcing some good forward movement in recruiting bipartisan support for the cause in Congress, an effort at which the KCC’s efforts have made an unquestionable difference. But names, unfortunately, will have to wait for now.
Addendum: A lot of interesting developments this week I haven’t caught up yet, including the AEI event, but let’s take them in inverse order.
I attended an event this evening where I briefly met Shin Dong Hyok, who claims (the word offends, but how can we be certain?) to be the only survivor of the “life imprisonment zone” of Camp 14. He’d had a hard week talking about a hard life, and I didn’t have it in me to strike up a casual conversation about, say, his mom’s execution. What does one say to such a person? What must he be thinking with all of the exhaustion and sensory overload of meeting so many strange new faces, most of them sincerely compassionate, some of whom might be able to favorably influence events in his hellish homeland? How our doubts must madden him. In retrospect, “happy hour” may have been the wrong choice of words to describe the event. I felt bad for Shin, was glad to meet him, and also felt slightly ashamed for myself. I did ask if, at some other time, Shin would be able to identify sites inside Camp 14 on Google Earth. I’m happy to report that this idea has already occurred to others with far more wherewithall to present the results. It’s important that someone should take on such a project, but no one should have any great desire to be that person.
I was unequivocally happy to meet several other people there: Adrian Hong, Hannah Song, and commenter Joseph Hong, who supplies us with some of this blog’s best comments and links.
Another reader will forgive me for not identifying her — I’m not sure she’d want me to — but I was very happy to meet and speak with you nonetheless. The point to which I was coming in our conversation is that food aid, which should be directly distributed and monitored by Americans, Europeans, South Koreans, and Japanese, is probably the single most important and urgent way to reconcile with the North Korean people (as opposed to their government, which doesn’t want to reconcile).
Finally, I also met our lost-and-found-again friend Jodi, formerly of The Asia Pages. I was a frequent reader and infrequent commenter at her blog. Jodi didn’t often write about the topics I tend to write about, but I saw both vulnerability and wisdom in Jodi’s writing, and I found that endearing. Like me, Jodi turns out to be from freezing-cold flyover America. And I’m happy to report that Soju the cat lives with her to this day.
Just in case the Korean police are actually interested in prosecuting the Chinese thugs, here’s some video evidence to refute the fibs of the C-bots.
Exhibit A: Video of the violence of the Chinese mobs, where you can see people throwing things from the crowds. Park Tae-Hoon, the man with the bicycle who was beaten by the mobs, describes the incident (he seems to be OK now). A mean identified as a Chinese student group leader — a baldish man in his 40’s who looks much more like a government official — boats about the thousands of people the Chinese student groups organized. Can we infer that the students didn’t pay for all of those Chinese flags, some as big as a king-sized bedsheet, on their own? (ht)
Exhibit B: A montage of the Chinese mob violence we’ve seen in several countries during the torch run. You’d think that with this long a track record of Chinese mob violence in at least two continents, at the very least, the Chinese Embassy should have know what would happen when it organized the mob in Seoul:
Exhibit C: A woman, whose accent sounds either American or Canadian, has some terrifying moments when she’s caught between the opposing sides while protesting against China’s repatriation of North Korean refugees.
Exhibit D: I’ve posted another video of this, but here, two pro-Tibet protestors are surrounded and beaten in the lobby of the Seoul Plaza Hotel:
Exhibit E: Now this, you haven’t seen. The protestors turn out to be two young Americans. Here’s their description of what happened. Classy of them to ask the commenters not to race-bait, although that’s probably futile.
Exhibit F: More video showing the faces of specific Chinese students committing assaults on Koreans:
In Korea, the press furor over this appears to be quieting, but if you need any more evidence of how widespread, deep, and disturbed China’s chest-thumping nationalism really is, just follow the links in this comment by Sonagi. Think: Boxer Rebellion with nukes. Don’t miss this, either.