China must apologizeChina is suspected of trying to cover up the assault on Korean journalists accompanying President Moon Jae-in during his state visit to Beijing with a slap-on-the-wrist for the assailants. From the preliminary findings from the investigation so far related to Seoul officials, Beijing is concluding that the violence against the Koreans took place out of impulse from a security guard — not in a group — and that the victim, a photojournalist, did not suffer a life-threatening injury. In short, it is poised to brush the matter aside as a light incident.
We cannot accept such a conclusion. The injured journalist was pulled away by 10 or more security guards and kicked mercilessly many times, dealing him a heavy blow in the face that required surgery. We are appalled how that cannot be considered an act of violence. The investigation and punitive actions must be carried out against not only the assailants, but also against the police who had been in charge of the security that day. The victim has yet to recover feeling in his tongue and nose due to serious injury.
We are angered not just by the act of violence. As the Korean Association of Photojournalists said in a statement, China has committed violence against South Korea. We demand China probe the matter thoroughly.
First, it must investigate why Korean journalists were beaten up on two different occasions. Second, the assailants and their supervisors must be punished. Third, the Chinese government must express genuine apology. Fourth, it must offer damage to the victims for their physical and psychological pain. And fifth, Beijing must vow such incidents will never happen again.
Only then we will believe that the Chinese government had dealt with the matter truthfully. The Korean government must keep close watch on its Chinese counterpart to ensure it does so.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 29, Page 30