By Hong Mei
|May 04, 2008|
SEOUL—The Olympic torch relay in Seoul on April 27 has ended, but the aftermath continues. On April 28, the South Korean media widely reported on rioting by Chinese students during the Olympic torch relay and inside stories about the Chinese Embassy's behind the scenes role in the violence.
As a result, an ever increasing amount of South Korean citizens have condemned the Chinese students' actions and have demanded that the Chinese Embassy give an explanation for the incident.
In the meantime, South Koreans also criticized police for "only being concerned about the safety of the Olympic torch regardless of Chinese students rioting and turning a blind eye to the violence against South Korean citizens and police."
On April 28, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed "strong regret" to Beijing's Ambassador Ning Fukui about the behavior of Chinese students during the event. South Korean police have stated that they will identify the perpetrators according to closed circuit television recordings and prosecute them accordingly.
Soccer-Riot Style Violence Twists the Spirit of Nationalism
South Korea's MBC TV broadcasted a complete report of the incident. On April 27, agitated Chinese students disregarded a police blockade, threw empty bottles and rocks at protesters from North Korean human rights organizations and scuffled with police in the Olympic Park, resulting in many protesters suffering head injuries.
It is also reported that over 100 Chinese students waiting for the Olympic torch at City Hall chased a member of a Tibetan human rights organization to a hotel where he was beaten with metal clubs. Riot police who rushed to the scene were also wounded by the students.
Even South Korean citizen, Po Taihun, who is not affiliated with any human rights organization was beaten and kicked by Chinese students for nearly a half hour because he was holding a flyer for a human rights organization.
Kyung Hyang Daily News carried an article titlted "Overly Heated Nationalism Makes Outraged Citizens Think of Nazism." The article reported that South Korean citizens felt that the soccer-riot style violence has twisted the true spirit of nationalism.
It also reported that on April 28, South Korean citizens persistently demanded that the Chinese Embassy explain the incident. Some Internet users also launched a campaign to condemn the Chinese students' violent behavior. Over 3,000 people joined the campaign on April 28 alone.
The Kyung Hyang Daily News report also stressed that the Chinese Embassy was involved in the incident behind the scenes. Quoting an article from the Tibet Peace Coalition, it reported that the Chinese Embassy rallied Chinese students and divided them into 90 50-man teams, provided them with t-shirts, flags, transportation and also paid for lunch. In other words, the Embassy was directly involved in the Chinese students' rioting.
South Korea's most widely circulated newspaper The Chosun Ilbo also reported on this incident in detail. Professor Chen from Central University told The Chosun Ilbo the following after accepting their interview: "This is only something that would happen in the Nazi era. Perpetrating violence towards a small number of people is like the Nazi Berlin Olympics. We can extrapolate how horrible the situation in mainland China is right now when we see how people who have been exposed to freedom overseas are still doing things like this."
Evidence of Chinese Embassy Manipulating Chinese Overseas Students
South Korea's national media Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) claimed in their report entitled "Chinese Demonstrations are Organized and Mobilized, Citizens Condemn Chinese Student Rioting" that the Chinese student demonstrations were organized and mobilized by the Chinese Embassy.
KBS also reported that on the Internet, which is frequented by Chinese students, there were messages such as "Students in Busan will convene in Seoul," and "bring more eggs but no heavy weapons, let's kill them." This has provided evidence which shows that Chinese demonstrations were organized and mobilized by someone behind the scenes.
KBS reported that the rioting during the course of the Olympic torch relay have been widely discussed by the Korean people. They also report that evidence of the Chinese Embassy's behind the scenes manipulation has caused greater outrage.
KBS thinks that the reason why 8,000 Chinese students suddenly gathered was because they had received emails and notification by the Chinese Embassy.
A Chinese student from a university in Seoul accepted an interview from KBS. He said that an email from Seoul University Chinese Students and Scholarship Association was sent to 200 Chinese students in his university stating, "The Olympic torch relay will be held in Seoul. The Embassy has requested our university send 200 students (male and/or female)… allowances will be provided to those students for transportation and meals…"
This has provided further evidence that the Chinese embassy is the body that organized and manipulated the Chinese students to take the violent actions.