SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid the unrest caused by the coronavirus, some South Koreans residing overseas are being subject to discrimination.
Foreign netizens posted malicious comments online after Son Heung-min, a South Korean football player for Tottenham Hotspur, was seen making a small cough following a victorious match against Manchester City last Monday.
“Viruses flow through Son’s veins,” said one of the comments.
A South Korean student on an exchange program in Nice, France, also said that he is being treated like a ‘virus’. “Things used to be okay until the coronavirus came. The whole atmosphere changed ever since,” he said.
Another study-abroad student in Hungary said a sneeze by an Asian is enough to catch everyone’s attention.
Some say that it is a reflection of how Chinese people living in South Korea are being subject to hatred following the coronavirus outbreak.
“More people seem to dislike the Chinese after the coronavirus broke out,” said a local homemaker in Busan. “My daughter is currently studying in Berlin, and I am worried that she might be treated the same.”
“Hatred is mutual. In a globalized environment, hatred spreads quickly worldwide,” said Prof. Kim Seok-ho from Seoul National University.
Experts say that issues related to health and safety can cause emotional responses that can spread at an instant, driven by the combination of fear for safety and a desire for hatred and discrimination.
“Once the coronavirus is contained, we will need to look back on our attitude towards others,” said Kim.
“Worldwide cooperation among civil societies is essential to prevent our wrongful response coming back to us and posterity like a boomerang.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)