Korea: Chinese students fear for safety after torch relay violence

Global Voices Olympics Last week someone left a comment on a GVO post, something to the effect of ‘the whole world hates the Chinese people now’ and for a lot of people in (and outside) China, it sure is looking difficult to even be Chinese these days.

Following the violence in Seoul during the Olympic torch relay there last week, a lot of Chinese fenqing types are for the most part just seeing what they want to see in how their generation and China is now being perceived abroad, and not only on anti-CNN.com.


At least these militant patriotic voices are still getting the most play online. The ‘River Crab Goes Ashore’ blogger has been posting recently on the themes of Olympic nationalism and China's image, and on May 2 reposted a piece that has been making the rounds on the internet, apparently written by a female student now in Korea, ‘Chinese exchange students cry foul: The Koreans have gone crazy!’ as well as the accompanying YouTube short:


We are exchange students here in Korea who took part in welcoming The Sacred Torch on the 27th, and just like all the Chinese exchange students, we did it for our great Motherland, spontaneously forming groups to go support the Beijing Olympics and welcome the sacred Olympic torch. But, our good intention and patriotic spirit was suppressed by Korean media, distorted, and with the mainstream media news reports we've seen these past few days have broken each and every heart belonging to us exchange students here to Korea. We've been staying strong, thinking that our motherland and our government will without doubt see us get done justice. When we see the footage in the television news reports, of us students waving flags, shouting ‘Go China!, Go Beijing!, Go Olympics!’, the announcers’ interpretation is that Chinese exchanges students are holding hostile demonstrations. They say that the Chinese embassy gathered and mobilized us students to demonstrate and make trouble, even saying that the embassy handed out clubs and other weapons to us already a month ago. True, there were clashes between students and Bad Elements that day, but I'd just like to ask: under those conditions, what flesh and blood Chinese person could turn a blind eye? The sacred torch has been harangued all the way, so many things have occurred: our students have been beaten, the flag and torch have been snatched at, and here today in Korea, the final capitalist country, those Bad Elements stand in front of us exchange students holding their weapons and taunting us, but in the end those weapons got reported as belonging to us students; they interviewed those Bad Elements, who accused us of attacking them, of being able to speak fluent Korean, but then implying that we were just tourists here, and the Koreans are believing this.

  韩国网上贴出了留学生联合会干部的照片、学校、学科、年龄甚至手机号码,这些学生会代表的人身安全受到巨大威胁。不光是他们,从昨天周一开始,普通中国留学生们在学校、外面和打工的地方都受到了不同程度的威胁,在我们家附近对我很好的大妈,往常看到我就会亲切的拉着我问东问西,今天我跟她打招呼,她竟然立刻把头偏向一边。我一起住的朋友眼眶泛红的回来,一问才知道,她在回来的地铁上,只是拿着书翻译上课资料的,坐在她旁边的韩国男学生看到她在查中文,立刻就问”너 중국인요?”(你是中国人吗?)朋友问怎么了,他立刻就说“ 중국개새끼(中国狗杂种)”朋友问他”우리 처음 만나서 왜 나쁜 말이 했어요?(我们第一次见为什么要骂人?)”谁知那胖子竟然说 “중국사람이 다 개새기요(中国人全都是狗杂种) “朋友气不过立刻说”너 개새끼잖아(你才是)”,没想到周围的几个韩国人竟然全冲着我朋友围过来,并且七嘴八舌的说“原来就说中国人劣等今天一看果然没素质”,弄得她一个女孩子只能车一停也不管是哪站立刻就跑下车。  这样的事情这两天发生很多,问问周边的朋友,大部分都或多或少的遇到过,现在我们不敢单独出门,不敢太晚回来,一个人时甚至不敢用中文讲电话,我们晚上在外面吃饭时说中文,周围的韩国人竟然几乎都不吃饭拿异样的眼光瞪着我们,就连住在一层楼的韩国大学生都敢占着厕所不给我们用。在韩国两年来,从来没碰到过这样的事情,早就知道看到的都是道貌岸然,但没想到,一夜之间全还原了真面目。想告诉在国内的同胞真相,也感叹国内的朋友竟然大部分都不知道韩国出了这样的事,不知道韩国媒体甚至比CNN的报道更加恶劣,矛头直指驻韩大使馆和中国政府。今天韩国著名的Naver网站上,首页头条就标出他们总理的话:”中国人暴力示威是从侧面损伤韩国人的自尊“同时韩国媒体还指出,韩国民众现在对中国人暴力事件的愤怒没有丝毫减少,要求抓出捣乱分子交由司法处理。天哪,这到底是个什么地方,我们未来的情况到底会怎样,我们不敢跟国内的家人说,怕他们会担心,只有互相安慰互相告诫千万不要单独出门,甚至商量好把手机的快捷键设置成好朋友的电话,万一出事立刻能拨出求救,因为我们连警察也不相信。

Now being posted on the Korean internet are the photos, school, department, age and even mobile phone number of the Chinese Student Union executives, and these student union representatives have received enormous threats to their personal safety. And not just them; starting yesterday, Monday, random Chinese students on campus, outside or at their workplaces have all received threats to different extent. Near where we live there's this big lady who's always been really nice to me, stopping to ask how I've been whenever she sees me. I waved hi to her today, and then she suddenly turned her head in the opposite direction. Then later my roommate came home with red eyes and when I asked what was wrong, I found out that as she was taking the subway back, just translating some assignment work, the Korean male student sitting beside her saw her checking the Chinese, and immediately asked, ”너 중국인요?” (are you Chinese?), and my friend asked, ‘so what if I am?’ He immediately replied, “ 중국개새끼” (the Chinese are inbred dogs). My friend snapped right back, ”너 개새끼잖아” (you, maybe), and didn't expect then that several Koreans standing nearby would suddenly rush over and surround her, saying all at once thing like, “they always say the Chinese people have terrible character, now today I sure enough see that it's true,” until my friend had no choice but to run off as soon as the subway stopped, even though it wasn't her stop. Things like this have been happening a lot these past two days. I've been asking my friends, and most of them have more or less come across it, and now we don't dare go out alone, and don't dare come back too late. When we're alone we don't dare speak Chinese. We do at night when we're out eating, and the Koreans sitting around us actually all almost stop their eating and just stare at us with a strange look; even the Korean students living on the same floor as us won't come out of the bathroom so that we can use it. After two years in Korea, I've never come across anything like this. I've always known that what we see is their polite face, but I never thought that the true faces could come out suddenly overnight. I just want to tell our compatriots back in-country the truth, but at the same time sigh, because most of my friends back home actually have no idea of what's happened in Korea, and don't know that Korean media is far more horrid than CNN is, with its arrow pointed directly the embassy here, and the Chinese government. Today on the well-known Korean website Naver, the top headline was something their Prime Minister said: “The Chinese's violent demonstrations have been a side blow to Koreans’ self-respect”, and at the same time Korean media are saying that the Korean public's anger toward the Chinese violence incident hasn't decreased in the slightest, and demanding that the troublemakers be arrested and dealt with judicially. My god, what kind of country is this? What will our future be like here? We don't dare tell our families back home in China, for fear they'll worry, so we can only comfort each other and warn each other not to go outside alone, to the extent of discussing putting our close friends on speed dial, in case anything happens we can immediately run over to save them, because we don't even trust the police.



  主要是针对所谓的中国留学生27号的”暴力示威”. 国人都知道,这是夸大其辞的东西. 当然我们的留学生中那天是出现了不够聪明的举动,也许是因为爱国激情的膨胀,有部分学生对ZD分子动了拳头.就是因为这个,给韩国媒体一个盼望已久的反华机会。还有,现场那些ZD分子,自己带来了改锥,扳手,石块等凶器,卻对着镜头说是中国学生袭击他们。最近,韩国新闻中不断播出那些“暴力镜头”和一些所谓的凶器证据,然后说我们的暴力严重影响了韩国国民的爱国自尊心。现在,韩国政府居然要求中国就此道歉。

Please rally behind us, show your support; with the motherland and the government behind us, we won't fear a thing. And please, tell your friends and family of yours in Korea, they must be careful!

In Seoul, even though the torch relay finished on the 27th, here all of Korea is still crusading against China.

It's mainly being aimed at Chinese students’ so-called “violent demonstrations” on the 27th. We all know this is being exaggerated. Of course we exchange students didn't make the smartest moves that day; maybe because patriotic fervor was surging, some students raised their fists toward the Free Tibetters. It was this that gave Korean media the chance they've long been waiting for, to turn anti-China. Also, the Free Tibetters who were there brought screwdrivers, wrenches, bricks and other weapons with them, then turned to the camera and said it was Chinese students who were attacking them. Recently, Korean news has been repeatedly showing these “violent shots” and so-called proof of weapons, and then saying our violence has seriously impacted the Korean people's patriotic pride. Now, the Korean government has gone so far as to demand China apologize for this.




With crusading voices coming from the media and government, the Korean people's hatred toward the Chinese people has of course reached its peak. They've already put the name, campus, phone number and other information belonging to the Chinese students at the forefront of “the troublemaking” that day online. People are saying that a lot of the Chinese students won't even turn on their phones now, because people keep making threatening phone calls, or just start swearing at them. We're afraid to go out at night now, because we can't be sure that any Koreans we pass by won't start beating us or whatever.

Just a while back Korean students kept saying “it's the Chinese who are beating people”, but then went out themselves and beat up one Chinese student in Cheongju. Since the ruckus on the 27th, Chinese exchange students in Korea are in a really dangerous spot. Koreans aren't like Westerners, who understand what human rights and equality, etc. are. Koreans are actually just boors who will strike out at any time. For example, Chinese in the US can go demonstrate at CNN's front door, and as long as it stays within limits it's legal, and Americans can't do anything about it. But in Korea, this would be impossible. They would barbarically turn to violence. On the 27th, one student from our campus only so much as raised a flag in front of one Free Tibetter and was then held down by police, saying s/he was an instigator. This is why we here in Korea can't freely fight for our rights or respect like those in America or other countries.

Now, Korean police have already taken away several exchange students, who it looks like are going to be penalized. Every student society president at every campus and several exchange student organizers have all received threats to their safety. Koreans are saying they're going to show the Chinese people that they are not to be messed around with. Then there are people putting out rewards for whoever catches the few of us who organized this. We're just here as exchange students. Most of the time when we're faced with discrimination and insults from the Koreans, we keep quiet, and now because of that one day we went to show our support for the Sacred Torch Relay, and express our patriotic sentiments, this is how it turns out. If things go on as they are, Chinese students in Korea will only be in more and more danger, with less and less to hold onto.



I'm female btw, so I might be a bit better off. I just want to warn all exchange students here in Korea, especially the men. At night or in places where there aren't many Chinese, you have to look out for your own safety. Don't go around getting into conflicts with Koreans, or else the ones who will get hurt will be us. Every day now the front door to the Chinese embassy here is surrounded by Korean protesters, putting the embassy people themselves in danger. But, China will definitely not apologize. We were justified in showing our love for our country, and we didn't do anything wrong, so what should we be apologizing for???? If the embassy proves unable to protect the safety of us exchange students, then who will dare showing their love for country while overseas???

(PS: Today I saw the pictures of our compatriots studying abroad after having been beaten by the Koreans, and then I understood the truth. Korean media, you're more fracking CNN than CNN itself!!! If those SOB beasts hadn't gone grabbing at our flags, ripping our flags, then our compatriots studying overseas wouldn't have clashed with them!! Frack!! Is there no justice on this earth??!)


This video clip on YouTube of Chinese students beating Korean protesters has created a stir:

关键字:留学生, 韩国, 视频, 殴打

Posted: 2008-05-2
Link to this post: Chinese students in Korea cry foul: The Koreans have gone crazy! (video)
Keywords: Exchange students, Korea, video, beatings
Disclaimer: Aside from stating this to be an original creation, if reposted, please state clearly that it comes from River Crab Goes Shore and link back to the original.

And a portion of the comments on River Crab‘s post:


yesdo 2008-05-2, 8:28 am


Retarded wolf-child


sttony 2008-05-2, 9:32 am


If suddenly one day ten thousand or more Korean university students suddenly started protesting in Beijing, and employed violence against a minority of Chinese demonstrators, what would our response to those Koreans be? Although, the conditions for this assumption don't hold up; a demonstration in Beijing would never be approved by “the relevant departments.”


xxoo 2008-05-2, 9:35 am


I'm at a loss for words.


路过 2008-05-2, 9:36 am


This is beyond hope.


夜彷徨 2008-05-2, 10:24 am

首先27日在韩国的圣火传递过程 在国内报道了吗
在终点的宾馆里 确实有国人动手打人 还被人拍下证据了就不要不承认 那是在韩国 有韩国的法规 韩国*文明用语*也要有他自己的威信 不可能欺负到自己头上了还憋屈着

PS:韩国的朋友要小心了 注意安全;有国外媒体职责中国没有道歉(不过貌似说要去看望);韩国好像没有直播那天的圣火传递
媒体都有自己的立场 同一个事实报道不同的侧面而已 不是全世界的电视台都为中国服务 报道些你看不顺眼的就抗议是很不明智的

First off, was the Korean leg of the torch relay on the 27th reported upon by domestic media?
Why is this coming out only now, several days later?
At the hotel at the end, there were definitely our people hitting others, proof of this was even caught on film so don't bother trying to deny it. This was in Korea, Korea has its own laws. Korea's ‘diplomatic language’ also needs to carry authority. You can't go around bullying people then get bent out of shape when it comes to bite you back.
If this gets too big, do you think there'll be a ‘boycott Korea'……?

PS: Korean friends, be careful. Watch your safety. Foreign media are blaming China for not apologizing (though it seems they've said this will be looked into); Korea I think didn't do a live broadcast of that day's torch relay.
Media all have their own positions; one truthful report has different sides to it, that's all. It's not like the whole world's television stations exist to serve China. To protest something just because you don't like the look of it isn't very bright.


警惕 2008-05-2, 10:39 am


You deserve it! What is this, ‘Korea is a capitalist country'? One look and I can tell the bunch of you have been brainwashed! What kind of country is China then? With all the problems your own country has, do you still dare come out and protest? No, you run off to protest in other countries and you don't even know how to rationally express your opinions. Others express differing opinions and you all start beating people like you were Red Guards, ignoring the laws of another country. Now you're getting a taste of them, and just like during the Cultural Revolution, the brainless youth now that they've been used by the CCP, the bunch are being cast aside. Sure, run to your masters for help now, see if they'll save you!!


朝南生 2008-05-2, 10:56 am


Right when the clip starts you can hear one rational voice: ‘don't hit people’
Then as the pack starts hitting people and the ‘love China’ voices roar you hear a: ‘sorry’
My mother! Are those people waving the national flag my compatriots of legend?


呦 2008-05-2, 11:03 am







You're right!
I just wonder how many of those students were able to go study abroad based totally on their academic achievements!!
I just wonder how many of those students have parents who are high officials (“making” their money in the name of ‘serving the people’)? And how many of them just have rich parents (the kind rolling in money from government contracts)? And how many of them have stacked social backgrounds (like pitbulls with friends in high places)??

Of these exchange students, how many come from poor farmer families? Do any of them have parents laid-off or unemployed?! Which of these students won't have a career path paved with cash?!
While China's corrupt officials go trampling over lives, where is their “diplomatic language”? The Chengguan beat people to death like they're dogs, and with impunity, so why don't we see them protesting or boycotting then?!!
These overseas students, just what kind of a bunch of people are they???!!


poshi 2008-05-2, 11:22 am


Never mind who's right and who's wrong, I just feel those Koreans changed face so quickly, it really sours the heart.
And…if you say Chinese people need to calm down, can one calm down in conditions like those? Those Koreans said flat-out that we Chinese are inbreds? Once they finish saying that, they say we Chinese don't speak with any civility. Even if you were Bruce Lee and knocked him flat, he'd just say you were a thug. So what are we supposed to do? People point you in the face and say your country's people are inbred, how can anyone stay calm?


poshi 2008-05-2, 11:44 am


Some people commenting above are obviously quite calm, saying people are all ‘love the country’ because of the Com-mun-ist Party. So if you don't “love the country”, then what Party are you? Even though those people weren't being calm at all, why would you say that? There are those who are involved in this, and then there are observers. Don't forget, you're an observer, so no matter what you say to them, you're still only just a bystander watching the excitement, and that's it!


死的蚊 2008-05-2, 12:20 pm


Koreans crazy? More like “Chinese overseas students” have gone crazy!!!

Coming next, voice-of-a-sensible-part-of-his-generation blogger He Caitou's response to Chinese college students in Korea's cry for help..


  • Kai

    @ Knights:

    Wow, I’m speechless. You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you intentionally being–for lack of a better word–stupid?

    Where in the above post does it say Chinese people are being punished simply for waving red flags and welcoming the torch? It says some violent Chinese people in Korea are potentially being legally punished for physically assaulting other people. You do understand that physical assault and violence is not generally legal in democratic societies, right?

  • 国内学生

    家再破也是自己家,兄弟再穷也是亲兄弟,再怎么说,也轮不到一个外人说三道四的,更何况,他们韩国人也好不到哪去,自家的事情都没处理好,还敢说三道四,可显现他们的所谓的高素质,据说他们的小学生还有起据说轰动全国的集体强奸案,保守估计100人左右吧,好高的素质啊。我们学不来的。根据以往的事情好像韩国人偷了我们中国人很多东西啊,譬如端午节啊 ,等等,还篡改历史吧。丢人啊。没脸没皮的韩国人啊。

  • erhilo


    Those Chinese students swatted with national flag poles really caused China government trouble.

  • Knights

    @ Kai, you can call me what ever you want, I respect your free speech. You are a dog who’s barking at your owner (your race), does that make you better than me????????

    Read the hint that “. . .the Chinese are fearful of backlash!” There is no action yet, but the way people spit out Nazi racial slurs at Chinese will definitely lead to violence!!!

  • R. Elgin

    John, I’m asking around with teachers and others and have not heard anything firm, even on a word-of-mouth level. What I get is that Chinese here are worried (feeling guilty) and are keeping a low profile though.

    I’m a bit skeptical about any serious backlash going on because in the time I’ve lived in Korea, I have not seen Koreans to get really physical unless certain radical elements get involved like labor, unionist, and leftist — pushing politics. Koreans tend to get verbal and emotional but not much else. I hate to admit it but they are not as scary as what I lived with back in the states.

    Currently there is more concern with American “mad cow” beef rumors and demonstrations against the perceived health risk of importing such, than anything Chinese. I concede that the Korean media is adept at not reporting certain things that the government finds embarrassing but news of such leaks out eventually.

    I sincerely hope that there really is nothing to worry about — as I suspect.

  • Knights

    translation for Mainland student:

    No matter how broken our home is, it’s still our home.
    No matter how poor our brothers are, they are still our brothers. Regardless, it’s non of other’s business to bash. Moreover, the Koreans are NOT better than us. They can not even handle their own affairs, and they dare to bash others. This shows their high moral ground eh! Heard that their middle school students (around 100) committed rape crimes which provoked national criticism! We can never catch up with them on their crimes. Shame on Korean’s past and present!

    The thread was written by foreigner! Don’t play these games, don’t try to scare Chinese. Don’t try to hurt abroad Chinese Students’ hearts! It’s an agenda. Oh because we (Chinese) are poor, we are not as rich as SK, so we do not have free speech????? It’s called allowing the rich and powerful to trigger a fire incident , but refuse the poor to light lamps. You accuse us lacking human rights? Give us freedom of speech then! Our torch supporters were harrassed and beaten! Is this any different??? I know the so called high moral Koreans are just a bunch of thieves and rapers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kai

    @ Knights:

    I noticed you chose to call me a dog instead of addressing my point.

    However, I noticed that I may have misinterpreted your comments. I thought you were intentionally misrepresenting physical assault as merely waving red flags and welcoming the torch…and then suggesting that punishing the Chinese who resorted to violence as silencing their freedom of speech in what should be democratic Korea.

    It seemed utterly ridiculous that punishing assault was being equated with restricting free speech.

    Upon re-reading your earlier comment, I grant that you may have intended to express your dismay that Chinese people in Korea are fearing backlash for simply being patriotic. Should that be the case, I apologize for misunderstanding you and I agree with you that no Chinese in Korea should be afraid to simply be proud of being Chinese.

    Yet, we do have to be realistic and pragmatic (something we Chinese are usually good at) here. If our fellow Chinese managed to piss off a bunch of Koreans by collectively assaulting some Koreans, you’re probably going to feel some resentment from many of your Korean neighbors. It isn’t entirely fair, but it is understandable. After all, many Tibetans and Xinjiang people are collectively negatively regarded for the actions of some of their brethren. When the Japanese prime minister decided to disrespect the Chinese by visiting past war criminals, many of us Chinese decided it was okay to riot, vandalize, and persecute random Japanese and Japanese businesses. It might be wise for non-violent Chinese to distance themselves from the violent ones, to be contrite and condemn violent actions. Believe it or not, it actually is possible to do so without betraying your race.

    Honestly, the bottom line is we Chinese should’ve done a better job of stopping our fellow Chinese from resorting to violence. Ultimately, we gave Koreans an excuse to resent us, suspect us, and/or hate us. We failed to control ourselves and now we have to deal with the consequences. I feel bad for the one Chinese guy in the middle of the above video calling for everyone to stop fighting. How easily the mob drowns out voices of reason.

    Trying to downplay, ignore, or excuse the violence is only going to make the situation worse as Koreans, like Chinese, will only see that as being disrespectful. Let’s not forget that when the Virginia Tech shootings occured, Koreans actually publically apologized for (in addition to condemned) the shooter’s actions, even when the violent actions of one young man doesn’t represent the entire Korean race. I’m sure many Koreans don’t have a very good impression of us Chinese right now, and the fact that our websites and so many of our fellow Chinese seem so violently nationalistic isn’t helping much. Hey, didn’t we use to criticize Koreans for being too arrogant?

    I do condemn the Chinese students who attacked the Koreans…especially in their own country. We Chinese do not tolerate foreigners causing trouble in our homeland either, so we have little excuse to be causing trouble as guests of another country. It is one thing to wave a flag and quite another to be using that flag to hit other people. Likewise, while I understand how the actions of some Chinese people have embarassed the rest of us rational and reasonable Chinese, I do emplore that Koreans keep in mind that the actions of some fenqing does not speak for every Chinese person out there.

    By the way, which “Nazi racial slurs” are being used against the Chinese?

  • Kai

    @ R. Elgin:

    Unfortunately, I do believe there to be plenty of potential Korean backlash against Chinese in Korea, especially against Chinese people doing anything that might be interpreted as causing trouble. Our mutual hope is that such phenomenon be less likely than more likely, and if likely, to be less common than more common. For example, while the Chinese internet space would seem to imply that all of China is frothing at the bits to violently silence anyone who disagrees with them or disparages China, there are still plenty of Chinese people who simply can’t be bothered with such nonsense.

    I’ll say this: the fear of backlash is often most poignant in those who have cause to fear backlash.

    I’m amused with the Korean vs. Chinese dynamic. With Koreans often having a reputation for being nationalistic, even arrogantly and violently so, facing off against the ever populous tide of Chinese humanity, this has clash of the titans written all over it.

  • zhatso

    I am saddened to think of any people being harassed or threatened. All people want freedom, safety and chances to live their dreams.

    It is difficult to see though how unaware many Chinese people seem to be of the human rights abuses against the Tibetans.

    Being American, I know that it is not pleasant to acknowledge that your own government is committing crimes against humanity, as unfortunately the Bush administration is doing right now.

    But in the end the truth will serve us all. Tibetan people have a right to be free, just as we all do.

  • Knights

    -> You do understand that physical assault and violence is not generally legal in democratic societies, right?

    You are telling the wrong people, you should tell this to the French, German, and U.S.A!!!!

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