This post was edited by DSseeing at 2011-12-16 09:38|
Stabbing leaves Korean media overheated
Hundreds of people protest outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: Sopopo.com
The alleged stabbing of a South Korean coast guard by Chinese fishermen has triggered rage from the mainstream media in South Korea. Opinions have swept South Korea media such as "When can we stop being bullied by Chinese fishing boats?" "Chinese fishing boats flock to the exclusive economic zone of South Korea like locusts," "We should crack down on them like it's a war" and "Crazy dogs can only be handled with rods." It will be dangerous if the South Korean government is swayed by such sentiments.
If the South Korean coast guard was truly stabbed to death by the Chinese fisherman, Chinese public opinion will not take the fisherman's side. However, first, China and South Korea should jointly verify the facts of the incident. Besides, it also needs to be verified whether South Korea's jurisdiction over the incident is legitimate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that it is verifying the facts of the case and hopes South Korea can protect the suspects' rights. We should also ask South Korea to present all legal evidence including the full footage, and hear the case fairly.
It's understandable that South Korean society has become enraged over the incident but these sentiments should be isolated from the judicial procedures.
The reasons for the fishing disputes between China and South Korea are very complicated. Some hard-to-resolve problems should not be transferred into a confrontation of public opinion and popular sentiment between the two countries.
China doesn't intend to provoke South Korea, but the South Korean media always highlights China's hostility toward South Korea when conflict rises. The South Korean media often comes to quick conclusion about the nature of the conflicts, without leaving room for any other possibilities.
The fishery agreement reached by the two countries stipulates that, if fishermen breach the boundary for fishing, they normally get economic punishments. We don't know yet whether the Korean coast guard overstepped their authority during their operations, which led to the Chinese fishermen's unjustifiable defense. Besides, it's yet to be verified whether the Chinese were fishing illegally.
The South Korean media reported Sunday that the police was considering the use of firearms. If this happens, it will bring unpredictable shocks to the Sino-South Korean relationship.
This incident is an individual case. The public should not get too worked up. If Korean public opinion can't remain calm, the consequences could be disastrous.
South Korea should be aware that, among the tens of thousands of South Koreans living in China, individual conflicts with Chinese have also happened in recent years, but Chinese public opinion has never collectively denounced South Korea.
With growing contacts between China and South Korea, conflicts will also grow. If South Korean public opinion runs out of control whenever conflicts happen, relationships between the two nations will be poisoned. So public opinion in South Korea must become more rational.
This incident also poses a difficult problem for China. The Chinese government should both protect Chinese citizens' rights and respect international laws. Given the irrational public opinion in South Korea and the influence it may have on the case, the Chinese government shouldn't give in to the fierce public opinions in South Korea.
We also hope that Chinese fishermen take care and avoid head-on conflicts with the South Korean coast guards as much as possible. Making money is important, but safety is the first priority.
The article is an editorial published Tuesday on the Chinese edition of the Global Times.[firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/url]