In the wake of the Suwon Torso Murder Case earlier this month that saw the kidnap, rape and murder of a young Korean woman by a Joseonjok (Ethnic-Korean Chinese person), there has been growing tension towards Chinese-Koreans living in Korea.
The below article was the most read and commented article on both Nate and Daum (two of the largest portals on the Korean internet) last week and has attracted thousands of reactions from Korean netizens. In the article, the journalist tries to argue for restraint towards anti-Joseonjok attitudes, positing that many Chinese-Koreans live fairly difficult lives in Korea and aren’t always welcomed.
Despite outlining some of the positive effects of growing multiculturalism in South Korea, many netizens were quick to dismiss the author’s claim, with most flatly neglecting the argument that Joseonjoks can be considered Korean. It should go without saying that, as with many articles featured on koreaBANG, whilst many netizen comments display racist or xenophobic traits, they are most likely a disproportionately loud voice, as is this case with many groups with more extremist views.
‘Chinese Koreans are not the same race’ — South Koreans draw the line
Mr Lee (62) came to Korea 4 years ago with his wife. This was to find Korea, the land of ‘making money’. This is because compared to Korea, as a senior citizen, finding a job in China is difficult. Even though Mr Lee lived in China as an ethnic minority, he says he was never discriminated.
He said “Koreans think of themselves over other people, and there have been many instances where they swear and ignore those people…I just don’t understand. Recently, because of the murder incidents that have taken place in areas like Suwon and Yeongdeungpo, I can now feel people giving me the cold eye.”
Just like the Joseonjok [ethnic Korean Chinese citizen] who committed the murder crime in the Yeongdeungpo job agency, Mr Lee too has recently been fleeced of his money. “They said they return the commission fee within 3 days of starting a job, but when I ask for them to return the commission, they tell me that for any matters over 3 days old, commission fees are non-refundable. Even though they’ve received between 100 to 150 thousand won in commission fees, finding a job is still difficult.”
The level of danger of the recent xenophobia over overlooking Joseonjok is now on the skids. And since a Joseonjok committed a murder, being seen as a criminal is becoming more prevalent for them.
He spoke of how Joseonjoks mainly avoid Koreans and how though they work hard, get looked down upon and are discriminated.
Joseonjok Mr Kim (56) works between 12 to 13 hours a day in a laundry shop. At weekends he works from 3AM to 8PM doing 17 hour shifts. He is resting his overworked body for a short while.
Kim has felt much embarrassment while learning his job. He told us ‘at first, I was naturally not good at my job, but compared to the learning process, I got insulted, and what’s worse, I was told to quit. In China, when you are a beginner, you are taught well and are helped for a long time, so [in Korea] I was completely shocked’
Joseonjoks say ‘They spit in our face’
The pastor of the Seoul Seo Kyeong-soek Joseonjok Church pointed that just because of the recent murder cases, it is not right to brand the entire Joseonjok populace as criminals. He emphasized that ‘ Joseonjoks are of the same race, but even so they blame us and spit in our faces. To say that all Joseonjok are good killers just makes no sense at all.’
Speaking about the many Joseonjok who reside in Seoul, one police official said ‘When Joseonjok get a little rowdy in a pub, they might break a bottle, but saying they carry that bottle as a weapons are all just rumors. Only a minority of Joseonjok commit crimes, but to say they all do is running into deep waters.’
When looking at statistics of criminals in Korea, the ratio of crimes committed by Joseonjoks compared to Koreans can be seen. According to the police, in 2010 there were 299,321 Joseonjok residents. Of those, 10,654 were criminal offenders, or 3.6%. In the same period though, domestic criminals amounted to 1,935,262 from the entire population, or 4% of the population.
The stigma that Joseonjoks are ‘dangerous’ An expert noted that if one wants to reduce the number of crimes committed by Joseonjok, and of foreigners, there is a need to strengthen immigration procedures. He also noted that if Korea actively responds to crimes committed by foreigners and strengthen criminal record checks, the crime rate can be lowered.
Lee Jeong-hyeok, director of the Ansan Ethnic Koreans House, said ‘it is important to strengthen criminal record checks of not only Joseonjoks but also foreigners upon their arrival and selectively go through entry formalities. This is important to preventing foreign criminals from entering the country in the first place, and stigmatizing a particular nationality as being ‘criminal’ is dangerous.”
In many respects, it is also important for Korea to become a multicultural society changing the way foreign members of society are recognized.
Kim Hyun-min, professor of cultural anthropology at Yonsei University noted that “there is a problem is placing Joseonjoks, who are half-Korean, into a separate category, which they themselves hate. Just like in other countries, had we been educated by schools or the media as accepting other cultures, we would not have at this very moment in time this already established attitude that it is ok to express animosity [towards other cultures].”
Comments from Daum:
Before you post articles like this, you should first take a look at some internet cafe [forum] owned by those Joseonjoks. Now who is considering us to be a same race and who is not… Those people are Chinese down to the bone.
As is said in the article, they come here to earn money, and they are not ignored in China but are when they come to Korea, so in conclusion you’ll comfortably earn money here, but do you pay taxes?
You’re right, they’re Chinese.
Your discussion is flawed from the start. Joseonjoks are Joseonjoks ie another ethnicity. At that time, they decided to remain in Jiandao and Primorsky Krai [both regions being in China and Russia, on the border with North Korea]. And is it not the case that when it was a part of China, that bunch of people deemed it more advantageous to live there? But now that they are one [seperate] ethnicity, to treat them equally would be sinful towards our forefathers in their 60s, 70s and 80s who led the modernization process of this land. It’s illogical to say that we should treat that bunch equally, those who eat our bread without shedding one drop of sweat. Multiculturalism is not just the acceptance of inferior races. Cultural coexistence is only possible when we incorporate a culture with things that we can learn from. Those Chosonjoks are only subject to tight monitoring.
Now this is a big issue. Conglomerates want to procure cheap labor and are in the process of composing a multicultural society. If the rate of crime does diminish, I hope that the many Joseonjoks who live in Gangnam-dong and Seongbuk-dong [central districts of Seoul] areas will move out.
Xenophobia?? I was LMAO this morning ke How the hell are Joseonjoks Korean? They are just another kind of Chinese races. Their ethnicity itself is just fucked up, those who came in contact with Joseonjoks around might understand oh yeah except for those mail-order weddings
Has that fucking reporter ever worked with Joseonjoks? You should you bastard, and those who whack Joseonjoks also whack Koreans, you know that? Those owners with shitty personalities… don’t talk bullshit when you don’t know a thing those Koreans who suffer because of foreign workers – are they not human too?
Who believes those spiritless and gutless Joseonjoks? Under the pretense of multicultural policy, let’s try to compare who likes the killing of tax-paying citizens with the benefits of having a multicultural society.
Those Joseonjok bastards tell us not to ignore them but they themselves ignore North Korean refugees…… you guys remind me of Oh Won-chun [Suwon murderer] saying that’s too bad [what he said before killing the girl].
Why don’t we do things the other way round and ask Joseonjok Mr Reporter. Whether they think of themselves as Chinese or Korean. Tsk tsk Nowadays I’m really curious about the IQ of journalists.
Hey Mr Reporter! You should go along with the trend of nowadays. Please don’t write this kind of article..reaaally pisses me off!
I was in a hospital chatting with a Joseonjok who had liver disease ..He came to Korea to work.. But he said he would not change his nationality..Chinese nationality is by far more advantageous he said…For Joseonjoks, Korea is nothing more than a workplace…
Comments from Nate:
They are absolutely not the same people as us. Joseonjoks are CHINESE.
This is what a Joseonjok told me directly when I was in China. He said that Joseonjok are just one among many of the tribes in China (the Hans, Mongols, etc), and that he was absolutely not a fellow countryman with Korean blood flowing through his veins.
If China treats you that well at work then just work in China and leave Korea ㅡㅡwhy the heck are you so surprised
What’s worse is that if you treat Hong-Kong people as being Chinese mainlanders, they get angry. Everyone knows of the backwardness of Chinese culture. It’s just that Chosunjoks are Chinese who can speak Korean.
Be it in terms of inclination or view of history, we are not the same people. It’s just that they are a minority group of China.
Our landmass is so narrow, so instead of rolling into our country over and over again, just go back to your own wide land mass
Shut the fuck up and deport them!
If you say that Joseonjoks are the same as our people, you’re basically saying that the Manchus, Khitans and Mongols are also of our ethnicity. Just because they speak the same language doesn’t mean they are the same people~
If you think it’s that fucked up, then go to China!
They are not of same ethnicity.
Guide to words that spring to mind when you say the word ‘Joseonjok’: 1) Voice-phishing 2) Torso-murder 3) a Chinese who falls into the Chinese Supremacy way of thinking 4) You wanna beat someone up.