18 April 2012

Xenophobic netizens attack Jasmine Lee


Filipino-Korean Jasmine Lee has yet to officially start her work as an elected representative in Korea’s National Assembly but some Koreans are already attacking her on various issues.
Days after she won a proportional representative seat following the majority victory of the Saenuri Party in the April 11 election, some xenophobic and racist netizens have again raised issues against Lee, some of them complaining about multiculturalism in Korea.
These netizens also falsely noted on Twitter and other websites that with Lee’s victory in the polls, the number of mail-order brides and illegal workers in Korea will increase.

Lee married Korean Lee Dongho in Davao in 1995 and moved to Korea the same year. She became a naturalized Korean in 1998. Her husband died in 2010, leaving her with two children.
In addition, some are spreading alleged campaign promises purportedly made by Lee, which include free medical service for illegal migrants in Korea.
Quoting Korea’s Ministy of Justice, newspaper Korea Herald said there are 210,000 foreigners who are married to Koreans.
There are about 1.37 million foreigners who are living in Korea, based on data from the Korea Immigration Service.
The Chosunilbo newspaper quoted a Saenuri Party official as saying that Lee declined to comment on the issues raised against her.
"She felt that responding to each allegation could end up aggravating the situation and instead decided to let voters find out the truth by observing her activities as a lawmaker," said the official.
These criticisms against Lee have been denounced.
Actor Kim Jung-seok said, “I know Jasmine Lee personally, and knowing how tragically her husband died, to hear things like ‘mail-order bride bitch’ really boils my blood,” according to a news article translated by website Koreabang.com.
In an editorial, English newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily described these accusations against Lee as “total garbage.”
“The shameful attack on Lee in cyberspace was led by netizens in the liberal camp who were dismayed at the remarkable victory of the ruling party in the election,” it said.
“Regardless, we must exercise vigilance against those who try to propagate xenophobia based on a lack of understanding of the importance of multiculturalism,” the newspaper wrote.
Korea JoongAng Daily added, “In a global era characterized by a free exchange of people, becoming a multiethnic society is a must, not a matter of choice for Korea. We welcome her successful entry into the National Assembly and look forward to her contributions to our society.”
Lee worked as a panelist on TV and is very active in helping foreign migrants in Korea.
Last year, she starred as the Filipino mother of Korean actor Yoo Ah-in in the hit Korean film “Wandeuki” (international title “Punch”).
She is also the executive secretary of Waterdrop Korea and works at the Seoul government’s Foreign Residents Assistance Division.
Last January, Lee became the first Filipino to receive the Korea Image Millstone Award from the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI) for her contribution to promoting multiculturalism in South Korea.
Lee will serve as representative for four years.
By JONATHAN M. HICAP
MB.COM.PH

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