Koreans in locked-down Shanghai feel abandoned
Koreans in Shanghai are lashing out at the Consulate General of Korea in the city for not helping them enough in lockdown.
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition to the Blue House as of Thursday accusing the consulate of “incompetence and irresponsibility.”
The writer of the petition, a 28-year-old Korean living in Shanghai, tested positive for Covid-19 on April 5 and was moved to an isolation facility by Chinese authorities. Even after he recovered from the disease and tested negative for the virus on April 15, he could not leave the facility. He asked for help from the consulate multiple times but said the consulate's reply was: “We cannot help.”
Many are comparing the Consulate General of Korea in Shanghai's performance to consulates of Western nations, which are apparently more pro-active and helpful. “The information that the consulate provides doesn’t even compare to the information we are getting from online chat rooms,” one Korean in Shanghai commented on the Blue House petition board.
Another petition on the Blue House board called for “a rescue operation” of Korean students studying in Shanghai. It was written by parents of students and got 5,200 signatures in just ten days.
When the consulate sent out its first guidelines on April 10, one Korean in Shanghai told the JoongAng Ilbo, “It’s already been two weeks since isolation began and this is meaningless.” Some say the consulate’s performance has been disappointing since two years ago, when the pandemic first began. “Even deliverymen managed to secure passes to move about the city,” one Korean in Shanghai told the paper. “I don’t know how the consulate failed to get them.”
The consulate is accused of being led by incompetent political appointees. Ryu Jae-yoon, a businessman who has long lived in Shanghai and is familiar with the Korean consulate there, told the JoongAng Ilbo, “After around 2005, consulate generals in Shanghai were appointed from a pool of people close to presidential candidates and were mostly negligent of their basic responsibilities.”
In comparison, the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai actively appealed to the deputy mayor of Shanghai after conducting an investigation into the losses that Japanese companies suffered from the lockdown. Czech residents in Shanghai are also known to have received help from their consulates in returning to their homes from isolation facilities.
BY SHIN KYUNG-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]