Hwang's real mistake...
. . . was in attacking another Korean.
That's according to Professor Richard Scott Nokes of Unlocked Wordhoard, who spent some time in Korea as an English teacher and has some insights from his time here and his continuing interest in things Korean.
Nokes thinks that Hwang Woo-suk might have been able to retain the unswerving belief that most Koreans had in him and to exculpate himself of any wrongdoing in Korean eyes by pointing the finger at jealous foreigners trying to undermine Korean success, but Hwang has made a mistake:
Hwang could have gotten away with it, even now, except that he made a terrible miscalculation: he blamed another Korean. Now that fingerpointing is primarily one Korean pointing at another. The country feels a terrible wound to its national pride.Nokes does not specify which Korean Hwang attacked, but I'm guessing that he means Roh Sung-il, the man who formerly stood by Hwang, defending him concerning his use of ova purchased from a couple of his own junior researchers.
If Hwang really wants to get out of trouble, he'll have to start blaming some of the foreign scientists who worked on the project. It doesn't matter whether or not such allegations are plausible; all they must be is possible. Korea needs a way to save face, and blaming foreigners jealous of Korean success is the most natural way.
At any rate, I had the same impression about Hwang's miscalculation. As my wife was summarizing the press conference, I could see how the debate might take shape: Hwang versus Roh.
Unless Hwang can turn the issue back to 'jealous' foreigners . . . but for the moment, the fight's between Hwang and Roh.
Roh has convinced my wife, but she never liked Hwang in the first place. What remains to be seen is how other Koreans -- many of whom have idolized Hwang -- will react.