Here is a rough translation of Korea Times.
By Park Chung-avia occidentalism
An American English instructor at a Korean university claimed he was not rehired because of his views on Dokdo, the disputed islets between Korea and Japan, which Tokyo calls Takeshima, in an interview with the Korea Times last week.
``I was informed late last month that my university would not be rehiring me as an English instructor due to my views on Dokdo,’’ said 51-year-old Gerry Bevers. Bevers has been working as an English instructor at Gachon University of Medicine and Science for the past six years. His one-year contract was renewed every year _ until this year.
The e-mail he received from the department head informing him of the decision was sent to him on Dec. 23.
It read: `` This morning, at a meeting attended by the president and the deans of the school, your contract problem was discussed, and it was decided that your contract would not be renewed. I think there is little doubt that the school made this decision because of the Dokdo problem. It also hurts me to have to relay this news.’’
Since mid-August of last year, Bevers has been writing a series of articles on Dokdo. In them, he expresses his view on the islets based on his own research. They are titled ``Lies, Half-truths and Dokdo Video’’ and are available at www.occidentalism.org, a blog run by an Australian.
One of his articles posted on the Web site reads: ``There are no Korean maps or documents before 1905 that refers to any island in the Sea of Japan as `Dokdo,’ including the 1900 Korean Imperial Proclamation mentioned by the American law professor. Therefore, every time the video claims that a Korean map or document says `Dokdo,’ you will know that it is a lie.’’
Bevers also runs his own blog, titled ``Korean Language Notes,’’ on which he also posts his views on Korean history.
In early November, the university announced an open recruitment system for new English instructors. The university needed to hire more teachers when it transformed into four-year university from a two-year college last year.
As a result, Bevers had to reapply for the position.
The dean of planning had told him that since he was a good teacher, he should not worry about the recruitment process, and the interview for getting rehired was just a formality, according to Bevers.
Not long after the announcement, he was called to the president’s office in mid-November. He thought the meeting was about his job, but it wasn’t. The president said that someone who saw Bevers’ writings on the Internet complained to the president, saying that it’s improper to hire such teacher in a school whose motto is ``Humanity, Service and Patriotism.’’
``The president told me that I should stop writing about Dokdo on the Internet,’’ Bevers said about his meeting with the university president. ``He gave me a history book that I appreciated. I told him that I wouldn’t write any more.’’
Bevers had an interview with the rehiring committee at the end of November.
About a month later, he was informed that he would not be rehired.
To find out the reason for the school’s decision, he went to the office of one of the administrators from the school from the rehiring committee. Bevers secretly recorded a conversation with the administrator, because he thought he might have to sue the school.
In the recording, the administrator said that although he had no problem with his teaching skills, the school’s dean of planning had said that the ``Dokdo problem is too great’’ to rehire him and other members from the committee agreed.
``I realized that Dokdo is a sensitive issue in Korea, but has it become so sensitive that people cannot even freely discuss it?’’ he said. ``The motto of my university is `Humanity, Service and Patriotism.’ But is it patriotic for a university to censure free speech or punish people who have a different opinion?’’
Choi Mi-ri, the dean of planning of the university, flatly denied Bevers’ claim, saying that his view on Dokdo was not the reason the school refused to rehire him.
``Although we like Gerry very much, there were so many other good teachers who applied for the position. We made a decision based on objective evaluation on his teaching skills. As our school expanded, we thought it was time for a change,’’ Choi said.
The administrator from the school, who was recorded by Bevers, refused to comment.
Bevers said that it is his hobby to study and debate on Korean history, including Dokdo issue.
``About two years ago, when anti-Japanese sentiment was at its peak in Korean society, I happened to come across the book by Korean Professor Kim Byung-ryul, which was about the Japanese side of the story on Dokdo. It was different from the Korean side. Since then, I started to research on my own to learn more about the issue and posted my thoughts on Internet hoping I could discuss it openly with people,’’ he said. `` I have lived almost half of my life in Korea. I love the culture. I love the language. I love the people. Just because I disagree on Dokdo, I don’t think that makes me an anti-Korean, which a lot of people assume.’’
Bevers said that although he told the president of the school that he would not write about Dokdo anymore on the Internet in November’s meeting, as he was not rehired, he doesn’t feel the need to abide by what he said and hence restarted to write on the issue a few days ago.
Bevers first came to Korea in 1977, when he was in the U.S navy.
He then went back to the United States and earned a degree in Korean language and literature from the University of Hawaii.
He has spent most of his life in Korea since then, working at joint-venture companies, Asiana Airlines and several universities.
S. KOREA TO BLOCK PRO-JAPANESE WEB SITES AMID DOKDO DISPUTE.
SEOUL, March 17 Asia Pulse - South Korea's Internet content regulator said Thursday it is requiring Daum Communications Corp. (KOSDAQ:035720) to shut down five pro-Japanese Web sites following Japan's fresh claim to the South Korean islets of Dokdo.
"Those sites have a possibility of harming youngsters' physical and mental health by distorting historical facts and undermining international friendship," the Information Communication Ethics Committee, affiliated with the Ministry of Information and Communication, said in a statement.
Following the committee's decision, Daum, one of the nation's most-visited Internet portals, said it blocked access to the five Web sites.
If no appeal is made within 15 days from the site owners, the sites will be automatically closed, Daum said.
Anti-Japanese sentiment escalated in South Korea Wednesday after Japan's Shimane Prefecture Assembly passed a motion making Feb. 22 "Takeshima Day," to assert Tokyo's claim on the South Korean islets. Dokdo is known as Takeshima in Japan.
Dokdo, halfway between South Korean and Japan, has been held by Seoul since the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. However, Japan has periodically attempted to claim sovereignty over the islets.
The pro-Japanese sites were administrated by South Koreans on record, but the location of their residences isn't available, Daum said.
One of the sites, which has a banner that reads "Dokdo is Japanese territory," in Korean, has about 4,500 registered subscribers, Daum said.
(Yonhap) 17-03 1248
Professor under fire for praise of Japan
March 07, 2005 ㅡ A magazine article by a retired professor who wrote in praise of Japan's colonial rule in Korea has ignited a firestorm in academic circles and among the public, leading last night to the professor's resignation from Korea University.
In a contribution to Seiron, a monthly publication put out by the Sankei Shimnun newspaper, Hahn Sung-joe, a professor emeritus at Korea University, argued Japan's occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 should be regarded as a godsend.
"The fortunate part about the occupation of Korea is that it was Japan that had colonized the peninsula," Mr. Hahn wrote. "It was rather a blessing for Korea."
In the article and afterwards in an interview with Korean media, Mr. Hahn said that the early 1900s were a period of fierce competition among regional powers in Asia.
"At the time, if Japan had not occupied Korea, Russia would have done so," the prominent 75-year-old politics professor said. "If it were Russia, the Korean Peninsula would have been communized. Korean people would have been dispersed under Stalin's policies. Therefore, I think Japan's colonial rule rather reinforced Koreans' awareness and nationalism."
Mr. Hahn said Korean nationalism had risen during the colonial rule, and it was Japanese scholars and their Korean disciples who had built the foundation of Korean studies.
He urged Koreans to stop making compensation claims for Japan's use of Korean women as sex slaves during World War II. He said the episode was only temporary and an exceptional case that had done no great damage.
Following the publication of the article, originally written in Korean and then translated and printed in Japanese, fierce attacks erupted in Korea against the professor. Civic groups, even conservative organizations, said Mr. Hahn's views were inappropriate.
"A Korean academic has provided opportunities to Japan's ultra right-wing politicians to continue their thoughtless claims," said Kang Ju-hye, secretary-general of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
The Free Citizens Alliance of Korea, a league of the nation's 43 conservative civic groups, held a press conference yesterday to denounce Mr. Hahn's position.
Mr. Hahn was the co-chairman of the group but resigned from the post becuase of the uproar. He also stepped down from the his univesity post.joong Ang daily
Trial by new media
South Korea's OhmyNews website has helped to elect a president and to sack Fred Varcoe, the veteran sports editor of the Japan Times, writes Jonathan Watts
Friday January 24, 2003
The creative power of South Korea's new media may have won victory for the incoming president, Roh Moo-hyun, but their destructive power has also ruined the career of at least one journalist.
Last May, Fred Varcoe, veteran sports editor of the Japan Times, was in full swing preparing for the World Cup finals when he was suddenly given an ultimatum: "Either resign or you're fired."
It was an abrupt end to his 15-year employment with the daily paper at what should have been the highpoint of his career. Fred was well known among British sports journalists and foreign correspondents (me included) as the most prolific writer on Japanese football in the English language.
His personal and irreverent style probably had as many critics as fans, but that was his well-established trademark. He also got some important scoops. The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, once blamed him for the headaches of co-hosting the World Cup, a suggestion that Fred claims he was the first to make.
But on the eve of the tournament, he was given his marching orders as a result of a report that appeared in another country, another language and another medium.
Fred had probably never heard of OhmyNews until the influential South Korean online news site brought about his downfall with a withering criticism of one of the World Cup preview stories that he had written for the Japan Times. That story - an introduction to Seoul - began with Fred reminiscing about being propositioned by a prostitute during his first visit to the South Korean capital.
It was exactly the kind of old-fashioned, run-down, sleazy image that the host nation - which has never been more self-confident or assertive - did not want to present to the world. The URL of the offending article was sent anonymously to Bae Eul-sun of OhmyNews, who criticised the contents and the writer online in her own trademark aggressive style.
Although Ms Bae had not called for Fred to lose his job, her article spawned a furious online campaign for his dismissal. Fred's Korean wife received email death threats and the South Korean embassy in Tokyo twice visited the Japan Times to demand action.
Although the paper had been running similar stories by Fred for years and no one inside the paper had complained at any time when the offending article was submitted, edited or published, the Japan Times - whose publisher, Toshiaki Ogasawara, has business interests in Korea - decided its sports editor must go. Days before the opening game, the paper withdrew his tournament accreditation. He refused to resign and was fired on July 4 for, among other reasons, "insulting the honour of Korean women".
It appears to be a salutary tale of the risks of online journalism, which is still at an embryonic stage even in South Korea - the world's most advanced internet nation. Although the new media have played a mostly positive role in democratising South Korea in ways that other countries have not yet experienced, its ambitions are in danger of running too far ahead of its resources and the establishment of safety checks.
OhmyNews is just three years old, but with 3 million readers it has become as influential as any newspaper - helping to propel Roh Moo-hyon into the presidency and starting anti-American campaigns that drew in tens of thousands of people. But its young, idealistic staff admit they are too rushed off their feet to check the comments posted by readers.
"I feel guilty," said Bae Eul-sun. "It was not my intention to get Fred sacked. That was a proposal by one of the readers. Even though his article was insulting, I don't think it is democratic to fire journalists just because you don't like what they say."
The South Korean embassy also claims the consequences were unintended. "We passed on the feeling of anger expressed on OhmyNews about Mr Varcoe's yellow journalism, but we did not specifically ask for him to be fired," said a diplomat.
Nobody at the Japan Times was available for comment. According to Fred, his old employers share the biggest burden of blame for failing to stick by a story that they had published.
"This would never have started without OhmyNews, which is able to fire off insults unchecked, but the biggest culprit is the Japan Times, which would not fight my corner or give me the opportunity to defend myself," he said.
Fred will file a legal case against the paper for unfair dismissal next week. If he wins, his former employers may end up wishing they had followed the old-media journalistic principle of sticking by a story rather than caving in to pressure from the South Korean government and accusations by a sometimes wild new media.Friday January 24, 2003