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Public Rallies Behind Fallen Scientist

Posted November. 26, 2005 07:19,   


Ever since Hwang Woo-suk (photo), a chair professor of Seoul National University, held a press conference over the controversy surrounding egg donations for his research, groups and institutions publicly skeptical about Hwang have faced strong criticism.

MBC, a broadcasting corporation, and the Democratic Labor party have been bombarded with criticism for raising human egg trading allegations in its program “PD’s notebook” and for issuing a critical statement, respectively.

In the meantime, there is a growing movement to help the cloning pioneer.

As of November 25, more than 25,000 Koreans signed up for the renowned scientist’s fan club cafe called “I Love Hwang, Woo-suk” (cafe.daum.net/ilovehws). The managers of the site announced in a joint statement that they would stage a variety of campaigns, including collecting netizens’ signatures, boycotting commercials for PD’s Notebook, and boycotting MBC programs, including its news programs.

They also staged a one-man protest in front of MBC headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul from 6:00 p.m. Thursday until 4:00 a.m. Friday. The one-man protest will resume on Friday evening, and a candlelight protest is planned in Yeoido for Saturday afternoon.

Nine out of eleven sponsors of the controversial program, PD’s Notebook, have already cancelled their advertisements or plan to air their commercials in different time spots.

The bulletin board of the Democratic Labor Party’s homepage is covered with a flurry of posts declaring public withdrawals of support for the party after the party released a critical commentary titled: “The Hwang Woo-suk Scandal.”

Meanwhile, the movement to support the scientist is gaining momentum. As of the Friday afternoon, more than 700 women expressed their intention to donate their eggs through various channels, including his fan club cafe. A group called “People Who Support Egg Donation for Research and Therapeutic Purposes” opened its official homepage at www.ovadonation.or.kr.

In addition, a dozen Buddhist organizations, including the Budda Dongsan, the Buddhist human rights commission, the National Young Buddhists Association, and the Buddhism Bioethics Institute joined forces to create an association called “Korean Buddhists support Hwang Woo-suk.”

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com · Jeong-Gook Yoon jkyoon@donga.com