Koreans from the US, protesting WTO meetings in Hong Kong with Korean farmers... And writing about the experience.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

more bad journalism from NY Times

A shortened post of the Jan. 10 article before the verdict was issued: What I wanted to note was that this issue was portrayed in the NY Times as a sticky diplomatic bone of contention, but doesn't analyze the fact that international protests for the release of the WTO-14 have probably played a part in getting 11 of the 14 released, and the fact that none of the social justice messages were based on nationalist sentiment (nothing about Korea v. China, that sort of ridiculous fantasy).

The only direct quotes are from the WTO public outreach coordinator and the Hong Kong secretary for justice. No quotes from KCTU (the Korean labor union), from HKPA Hong Kong People's Alliance that organized many of the solidarity protests, from the South Korean government, or from the groups (like the ones that stretch from the Bay to LA to NY) that actually organized any of these protests. Complete silence on social movements. Will the NY Times ever get it? Why is the fact that citizens all over the world have common messages and unity around global trade and the righteousness of protest not reflected on? Why is it that it's still about old-fashioned state to state relations?

Especially considering the fact that the South Korean government appealed for the release of the 11 Korean peasants and the labor organizer, but refused to pay bail. In fact, Hong Kong citizens paid for the steep $12,000 bail of the 3 who were charged, and that fact will probably never get a mention, even though it reflects the fact that many citizens were quite moved by the Korean farmers and their protest strategies (and not just 'shocked', as the article talks about).

I also like the repetitiveness of the Hong Kong officials talking about 137 injuries being justification to keep the charges, but if you do the glass is half full/empty thing, only half are police injuries. The other half? That's right, police-inflicted injuries. A fair number of which we saw with our own eyes. So are they going to prosecute police? No. If it was truly about the fact that injury is inflicted upon people, and that being a crime, then the police would also have to go up on trial, but they won't. Because violence ain't 'violence' unless you're on the wrong side of the fence.

January 10, 2006 ARTICLE
Arrests of Trade Protesters Embroil Hong Kong With China and South Korea
By KEITH BRADSHER

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/09/international/asia/09cnd-hong.html

HONG KONG, Jan. 9 - The decision to bring charges against 14 people here
after a violent demonstration at the World Trade Organization conference
last month is turning into a contentious and diplomatically sticky issue
for the governments of Hong Kong, China and South Korea.

Labor union federations and social justice groups, mainly from Asia and
Europe, are portraying the 14 as "W.T.O. political prisoners." They held
a small march here on Monday and said they had sent delegations to
deliver letters, and in some cases hold demonstrations, at Chinese
consulates and embassies in New York City and in Bangladesh, Belgium,
Hungary, Thailand and Switzerland.

All but three of the protesters charged after the demonstration are
South Korean, and their case has drawn considerable attention at home,
with three of the country's most famous movie and soap opera stars
issuing a recent appeal for their release. South Koreans are already
resentful about China's tough treatment of refugees from North Korea,
many of whom have been repatriated to face long prison terms and even
execution.

The South Korean government has appealed to the Hong Kong government
repeatedly to release the protesters, all of them men. But the Hong Kong
authorities have refused, pointing out that the protest here on the
night of Dec. 17 left 137 people injured, including 67 police officers.

"Hong Kong is a place where the rule of law is strongly upheld," said
Wong Yan-lung, Hong Kong's secretary for justice, after meeting here on
Monday with three opposition lawmakers from South Korea who complained
about the prosecution. "This case is being processed in accordance with
the laws of Hong Kong and our established and announced prosecution
policy."

For rest of article, see the link above.

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