Saturday, December 17, 2005

Stemming speculations...

. . . on how Hwang might try to redirect the debate.

At Nokes's Unlocked Wordhoard blog entry, I've posted the following comment:
Yesterday evening, as my wife was describing the press conference, I began to see that the debate was shifting from one of Korean scientist (Hwang) vs. American scientist (Schatten) to one of Korean (Hwang) vs. Korean (Roh), and that makes it much more interesting because Koreans will be forced to confront the issue without the protection of nationalism (though some may try to portray Roh as a 'traitor').

I don't think that Hwang can easily turn the attention back to Korean scientist vs. American scientist because of Roh's opposition, but I can see how he might try. By implicitly blaming junior researcher Kim Seon-Jong for (supposedly) 'switching' the original stem cells for replacements from MizMedi Hospital, Hwang can imply that Kim, who is with Schatten, is cooperating with the American scientist to steal Korea's stem-cell technique.

That's how I see it . . . but events will tell.
As I have admitted above, I am speculating here, but if I put myself in Hwang's position (and assume that he is attempting a massive cover-up), then what more convenient scapegoat than a junior researcher who just happens to have been the link to the MizMedi Hospital's stem-cell collection and who also just happens to be off in America and associated with the American scientist Schatten?

The problem for Hwang, should he attempt this approach, is that his former friend and colleague Roh Sung-il stands in his way, and Roh doesn't look to be a pushover.

Hwang, however, has looks, charisma, and nationalist pride in his favor.

This could get bloody. Literally.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Sperwer said...

Seems to me like Hwang has everything going for him, including the foreign develi card, because in this case the foreign devil obviously seduced the already suspect Korean junior. As you say though, Roh could be a very real obstacle to Hwang's getting away with it. Probably depends on which one is better at manipulating uri nara;s emotions and, perhaps, which the eminence grise(s) in the govt behind all this decides to back for whatever reasons of intrigue suits his/their purpose.

At 8:41 PM, Blogger Sperwer said...

Like yours, my wife is Korean. Today, when she returned from an overseas business trip, I had an opportunity to talk to her about the Hwang case. She has spent a lot of time working with SNU doctors, including a very senior physician/professor/administrator of the medical faculty. Two interesting tidbits. When the news of Hwang's "successes" first began coming out, she heard a lot of doubts from her contacts about the reliability of the reported results, coupled with a lot of complaints about Hwang's "influence" in the govt. At the time, she was inclined to write it off as typical "collegial" jealousy and backbiting. Now, however, coupled with the statements of the aforementioned "senior" who has unreservedly labelled Hwang's work fraudulent, she's convinced. I've met the senior a couple of times myself. He's quite unusual in my experience for a Korean of his professional accomplishments and position in that he is one of the most genuinely humble and unassuming people I have ever met. His academic credentials and reputation are exceptional and unimpeachable. So, I think that all that remains to be seen is how the whitewash procedes.

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Sperwer, for both comments.

I suspect that with men such as Roh Sung-il and the SNU professor whom you mention, Hwang will discover that forcing his way out of this will be very difficult.


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