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Thursday, 19 April 2007

'I'm ashamed to be South Korean'

'I'm ashamed to be South Korean'

From AP: News 24
Seoul - South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun held a special meeting with aides on Wednesday to discuss the Virginia Tech shooting, as the public expressed shame over a South Korean citizen being identified as the gunman.

The shooter was identified as Cho Seung-Hui, a senior in the university's English department, who the South Korean Foreign Ministry said had been living in the United States since 1992.

Cho was the only suspect named in the deadliest shooting rampage in US history, which left 33 dead including himself.

"I and our people cannot contain our feelings of huge shock and grief," said Roh during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

"I pray for the souls of those killed and offer words of comfort from my heart for those injured, the bereaved families and the US people."

The case topped the front pages of nearly all South Korean newspapers on Wednesday, which also voiced worries that the incident may trigger racial hatred in the US and worsen relations between the strong allies.

"We hope that this incident won't create discrimination and prejudice against people of South Korean or Asian origin," said the Hankyoreh newspaper in an editorial.

Students fear retaliation

A sense of despair prevailed among South Korean public.

"I'm too shameful that I'm a South Korean," wrote an internet user on the country's top web portal site, Naver - among hundreds of messages on the issue. "As a South Korean, I feel apologetic to the Virginia Tech victims."

Kim Min-kyung, a South Korean student at Virginia Tech reached by telephone from Seoul, said there were about 500 Koreans at the school, including Korean-Americans. She said she had never met Cho. She said South Korean students feared retaliation and were gathering in groups.

South Korea has more students studying in the United States than any other country, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The number of South Korean students reached 93 728 as of the end of last year, 14.9% of the total, ahead of India at 76 708 and China at 60 850, according to a February report from the agency.

Sought better life in US

Cho's family had struggled while living in South Korea and emigrated to the US to seek a better life, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

South Korea's largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that Cho's family was poor when they lived in a Seoul suburb and decided to emigrate to seek a better life.

The family lived in a rented, basement apartment - usually the cheapest unit in a multi-apartment building, the newspaper reported quoting building owner Lim Bong-ae, 67. Police identified the shooter's father as Cho Seong-tae, 61.

"I didn't know what (Cho's father) did for a living. But they lived a poor life," Lim told the newspaper. "While emigrating, (Cho's father) said they were going to America because it is difficult to live here and that it's better to live in a place where he is unknown."

At the Shinchang Elemetary School that Cho attended for first grade and half of second grade, there were no records of the former student besides that he left school on August 19, 1992, officials said. Cho's former teacher was no longer working at the school and other teachers did not remember Cho.


BB: I think the vast majority of People will see this as having nothin to do with South Koreans, I hope the South Korean students attending other univesities dont in any way feel isolated or blamed. I think we have all seen enough hate expressed.

1 Comment:

Cosmic X said...

I agree. The murderer was a very troubled young man, and it has absolutely nothing to do with his being South Korean.