On May 24, a group of 91 South Koreans launched a suit against both the Chinese and South Korean governments, demanding compensation for the mental distress they suffered due to polluted air blowing into South Korea from China, the People’s Daily reports.
According to South Korean media Yonhap News Agency, 10 plaintiffs — including environmentalist Choi Yul, president of the Korea Green Foundation, and attorney Ahn Kyung-jae — filed the lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court, seeking $3 million in compensation for each person who took part in the suit — a total of 81. Choi and Ahn filed a similar case in April with five other participants, but they dropped the original suit and initiated a new one this time with more people involved. “As a member of the international community, China has the obligation to control pollutants at an acceptable level,” they said, pointing fingers at their neighbor for bringing bad air to their country. On China’s end, Hua Chunying 华春莹, a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded in March to similar accusations from South Korea that had existed for years, noting that scientific research and analysis are needed to determine whether China’s air pollution affects its neighboring countries.
On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, internet users overwhelmingly called (in Chinese) the accusation “groundless” and “shameless.” One commenter wrote, “Why don’t these people move to the United States, since air there is fresh and sweet,” in an apparent reference to the controversial speech given by Chinese student Yang Shuping, which has been dominating the Chinese internet for several days.
Why China is so afraid of Chinese students in the United States / Washington Post
SupChina editor-at-large John Pomfret on the Yang Shuping affair and what it says about a “deep-seated fear in China of American ideas.”
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- Taiwan ruling inspires gay-rights hope in China / WSJ (paywall)
- People in China are claiming Taiwan’s same-sex marriage victory as their own / Quartz
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- Video: China’s ancient circular walled homes / NYT (paywall)