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S. Korea Vows ‘legal and diplomatic measures’ Over Chinese Student’s Violence in Olympic Torch Relay

Posted by Author on April 29, 2008

AFP, Apr. 29, 2008-Chinese student (red cap) kicks a South Korean

SEOUL (AFP) — South Korea Tuesday vowed “legal and diplomatic measures” in response to violent protests by Chinese students at the Olympic torch relay here which have stirred anger and criticism of Beijing.

Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo said images of Chinese youths attacking Korean demonstrators had damaged national pride.

“Legal and diplomatic measures are necessary as the incident hurt national pride considerably,” Yonhap news agency quoted Han as telling a cabinet meeting. He did not elaborate.

Anger is growing over Sunday’s violence, recorded on widely circulated video clips, in which Chinese students attacked Koreans staging protests against Beijing’s rights record.

(photo: A Chinese student (red cap) kicks a South Korean who was protesting against the Beijing Olympics/ by AFP)

“It is very regrettable that foreigners staged illegal violent protests at a time when self-restraint against violent protests is taking root under a new government,” Justice Minister Kim Kyung-Han told the cabinet.

“The justice ministry will sternly deal with those responsible, regardless of their nationality.”

Kim said authorities were analysing video clips from the scene.

“We will go after all those responsible and bring them to account… a meeting of relevant agencies will take place at the Seoul district prosecutor’s office.”

China on Tuesday defended the right of Chinese students in South Korea to protect the Olympic torch, amid a brewing diplomatic row after protesters clashed during the flame’s journey in Seoul.

“Some Chinese students came out to safeguard the dignity of the torch. I believe that’s natural. Perhaps there were some radical actions,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in Beijing when asked to comment on the clashes.

National Police Agency chief Eo Cheong-Soo said the Chinese embassy had said about 1,000 Chinese students were expected to welcome the torch but 6,500 showed up.

“The Chinese side had worried about attempts to disturb the torch relay but as it turned out, disorderly, impetuous acts were committed by some Chinese students,” Eo told journalists.

The government Monday expressed “strong regret” to China’s ambassador at the students’ behaviour.

Newspaper editorials and Internet users slammed the youths and the largest-selling daily questioned whether Beijing is fit to host the Olympics.

“It marked the first time that Chinese have run amok in the capital of a foreign country,” Chosun Ilbo said.

“We cannot but doubt whether China has the common sense and standards to host the Olympic Games,” the paper said, criticising the government and police for failing to stop the violence.

Clashes erupted when some 300 protesters, including North Koreans, demonstrated against China’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees and its crackdown on Tibetans.

Thousands of Chinese demonstrators, mostly college students, had also gathered for the start of the relay in Olympic Park.

In one clash between the two groups, some Chinese threw water bottles, stones, chunks of wood and drink cans at their adversaries.

In another incident Chinese students surrounded and beat up a small group of protesters, according to witnesses. They said a local newspaper photographer suffered a head injury from a stone thrown by the students.

In another encounter, recorded on video, hundreds of agitated Chinese chased a few protesters into a hotel lobby next to City Hall and attacked them.

Two American students wearing T-shirts reading “Free Tibet” were mobbed by before being rescued by police, Chosun and other newspapers said.

The liberal Hankyoreh daily said editorially that the conduct of the protesters had brought disgrace on their country. “It aroused concern that Chinese nationalism is becoming excessive and violent,” the paper said.

JoongAng Ilbo said Chinese had not reacted this way in other countries which had seen torch protests. “As such, it appears that they look down on this country,” it said.

“Such incidents will occur again if they keep adhering to a distorted patriotism.”

The incidents are the latest to overshadow the torch relay, which was hit by protests in London, Paris and San Francisco prompting heavy security at other legs.

– Original report from AFP: SKorea vows ‘diplomatic measures’ over Chinese torch violence

One Response to “S. Korea Vows ‘legal and diplomatic measures’ Over Chinese Student’s Violence in Olympic Torch Relay”

  1. chinaview said

    Sadly, Chinese students are just used as a tool by the Communist regime, they are another kind of victims– victim of Chinese government’s brainwashing.

    Know more from the followng post:

    CNN Apology: a Chinese Communist Party Scandal

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