By Kim Se-jeongIn the wake of the murder committed by an ethnic Korean-Chinese man earlier this month, the ethnic community is raising fears over discrimination.
On April 1, the torso of a female was found at Sihwa Seawall in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province. An ethnic Korean with Chinese citizenship later confessed to killing his wife while arguing over money.
A similar incident happened in November when another ethnic man was arrested for murdering a woman in Suwon of the same province. Her body was also dismembered. That killing followed another case in 2012 when a Korean-
Chinese man kidnapped and murdered a woman then chopped her body into more than 300 pieces.
These incidents prompted a barrage of angry comments on blogs and websites.
“These people return Korean society’s hospitality with brutality,” one anonymous user wrote on Agora, a popular petition site. “We have given these people an opportunity to come and work which they take for granted. Look where they live in Seoul. Their neighborhood has become crime-ridden. We need your help. Let us makeefforts to send them all back home.”
As public sentiment against ethnic Korean-Chinese is worsening, the fear among these people is tangible.
“Again, people are talking badly about Korean-Chinese,” one Internet user wrote in an online group for Chinese immigrants. “We are victims. What a few people did is affecting how the rest of us are viewed in this country.”
Last year, police in Gyeonggi Province bolstered routine patrols in southern parts of the province to keep the crime rate of foreign nationals down. Ethnic Korean-Chinese people have protested the move, saying the police were indiscriminately targeting them The population of Chinese immigrants is high in southern Gyeonggi Province.
The number of Korean-Chinese nationwide is rising and experts say incidents like the three murder cases can lead to conflicts with native Koreans.
A Korean man who runs a Chinese restaurant in Gwanghwamun, Seoul, said there are common misconceptions about Chinese people with Korean ethnicity here. “They are not criminals. They are good sons, loving fathers and sweet uncles. They are left in a tough environment which changes them,” he said. “They are mostly alone here with no family. Their lives in Korea are far from ordinary. ” His restaurant has a couple of Korean-Chinese women working as waitresses.
Ethnic Korean-Chinese make up the biggest percentage of immigrants in Korea The Korean government has eased visa regulations for them, encouraging them to come.
A majority of Korean-Chinese women work in restaurants or as stay-at-home nannies, while most of the men are manual workers at construction sites.
SOURCE: The Korea Times