China rejects outcry over participant in Korean outfit

Wan Lixin
A Chinese woman of Korean ethnicity taking part in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games sparked anger in Korea by wearing traditional Korean dress.
Wan Lixin

China's embassy in South Korea has responded to an outcry sparked by a Chinese woman participant of Korean ethnicity wearing a traditional Korean hanbok outfit in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

In a statement, the embassy rejected accusations on social media and by some politicians that the inclusion of the woman in a hanbok as part of a display showcasing China's different ethnic groups highlighted China's "cultural campaign or abuse" against South Korea.

"We deeply regret that hanbok appeared among the costumes of Chinese minorities at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics," South Korean ruling party lawmaker Lee So-young wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday, according to a Reuters report.

"This is not the first time China has introduced Korean culture as if it were its own."

But China's embassy in Seoul said: "It is common knowledge that China is a multicultural country with 56 nationalities, and the Chinese government makes a point of paying respect to and safeguarding the legitimate rights of all nationalities with regards to their customs and habits."

As the Chinese-Korean community shares the same ancestry and origins as Koreans on the Korean peninsula, they naturally share a common cultural legacy, including their dress style.

"The allegation about a cultural campaign or abuse is totally unsubstantiated," it said.

"Whereas China respects the historic cultural traditions of South Koreans, it is hoped that the South Korean side should also show due respect for the feelings of all Chinese nationalities, including Korean."

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