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Criticism Grows Over Chinese Demonstrators in Seoul

Posted April. 29, 2008 08:17,   


Criticism is growing over the violence used by Chinese demonstrators during the Olympic torch relay in Seoul Sunday.

The People’s Movement to Hinder the Torch Relay for the Beijing Olympics, a Korean civic organization, said yesterday, “We want to ask the Chinese whether they are qualified to hold the Olympics since they committed violence on people while arguing that they support world peace.”

Korean police are also under fire for not cracking down on Chinese students in Korea who resorted to illegal behavior.

Police booked one Chinese student on the charge of throwing a broken piece of marble and three North Korean defectors who allegedly hindered the torch relay.

Other Chinese who threw goods, broke into a hotel lobby and attacked foreigners, however, were not punished.

One netizen said, “Their [Chinese] behavior is not justifiable since they hit innocent people and police in the capital of a neighboring nation. Police should arrest all of the violent demonstrators.”

A police source said, “Thousands of Chinese students participated in the demonstration. They seemed to have organized the protest after rounding up Chinese students online.”

Police also announced that they will arrest all demonstrators who committed illegal actions after identifying them.

The Olympic torch continued its global journey by arriving in North Korea for the first time early yesterday morning. After leaving Seoul, the torch arrived at Sunan Airport in Pyongyang at 12:28 a.m. yesterday.

At the airport, thousand of Pyongyang citizens welcomed the torch and waved flags of China, North Korea and the Olympics.

North Korea held its own event in front of a pagoda honoring its “juche (self-reliance)” ideology nearby the Daedong River, at 10 a.m. Kim Yong Nam, the head of the North’s parliament, gave the torch to North Korea’s first runner.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans watched the runner hold the torch cross the river. He ran 20 kilometers through Pyongyang while passing by Uui Pagoda, Pyongyang Station, Pyongyang Theater, Kim Il Sung Square, Chollima Statue and the Triumphal Arch before arriving at Kim Il Sung Stadium at 3:15 p.m.