Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Dont canonize the living

December 25th, 2005 . by Matt

Koreans learned a big lesson about virtually deifying people that are still alive with the Hwang Woo Suk cloning scandal (meaning the cloning that never happened).

Here is a background for people that dont know about it.

San Francisco – In a further blow to the credibility of the South Korean researcher who claimed to be the first to clone a human embryo, the journal Science yesterday said it is investigating a 2004 study it published that first brought Hwang Woo-suk to prominence.

At issue are two vital photographs that Hwang used to illustrate his breakthrough claim. They appear identical to photos published previously in another journal on an unrelated topic.

The latest allegation adds to a long list of charges levelled against the fallen “cloning king” in the past month.

Hwang maintains his findings, published in two Science papers in 2004 and 2005, are legitimate. But he has admitted to ethical lapses and sloppy reporting, and has asked for the 2005 paper to be retracted.

The mess has prompted a growing number of critics in the scientific community to assert that Hwang’s credibility is all but destroyed; many doubt that his claims to have extracted human embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos will hold up.

If the photos are duplicates, the mistake could be due to careless handling – an excuse Hwang gave for a similar photo foul-up previously exposed. Others, though, including two co-authors on the 2005 paper, are beginning to believe that much of Hwang’s work was fabricated.

Koreans have invested a lot in Hwang. Indeed, they turned him into a historical figure before he was even dead.

“We are happy as long as Professor Hwang is with us”

Comics that teach about the great Professor Hwang

“Children! Lets learn from the Success of Professor Hwang”

“The scientist that changed the world – Hwang Woo Suk”

The reaction after hearing about Hwangs fraud

People shocked to tears by Hwang

Poeple removing pictures of fallen hero Hwang from buses

People that are still alive arent meant to be treated like saints. I wonder if this scandal will make Koreans more circumspect in the future, or if they will precipitously create new heroes.

81 Responses to “Dont canonize the living”

  1. comment number 1 by: ponta

    A happy new year!!! Matt and everyone.
    今年もよろしくお願い致します。m(_ _)m

  2. comment number 2 by: darintenb

    It’s wrong saying that all Koreans eat dogs when only a little minority only about less than 5% consume it (very rarely, that Koreans smell what? Pigs urine? Where did you get that? Compared to the truth I said.

    If you would actually read people’s posts from time to time, you would notice that I said in my own post that it was a false, horrible, racist claim? My point was to turn the tables and show you what you should feel, although I’m begging to think you have no feelings.

  3. comment number 3 by: darintenb


  4. comment number 4 by: Ell

    Happy New Year!

    Katz, the problem is that you tend to generalize about other countries while you won’t permit us of the other countries to generalize about Korea in return.

    How you can say Hwang, who had the backing and support of his whole country, does not represent Korea but your experience with one Indian guy can be used to represent India is beyond most of our understanding.

    And we are not saying Hwang’s act represents Korea. We are saying how the Koreans dealt with Hwang and those who pursued his authenticity, before and after the fraud was brought to light, represents Korea as it is today.

  5. comment number 5 by: Errol


    Yes, the scandal is an embarrassment to Korea and Koreans.

    Comment by JK — December 26, 2005

    No. It isn’t the end of the story. Until the Korean public starts to do something serious about the culture of embezzlement endemic in the Korean college system, there will never be an end to these stories. As you so quaintly describe them.

    JK, Katz,

    Aologies to Eldridge Cleaver

  6. comment number 6 by: JK

    errol, should I talk about the Japanese cult leader who ordered the gas attack on the subway? How about the Japanese schoolboy who cut off his classmate’s head and left it hanging outside his home for the victim’s father to see? Social illnesses in ALL countries should be addressed. Somehow, though, I think the two incidences in Japan I mentioned are FAR more disturbing than the Korean scientist. The end.

  7. comment number 7 by: AG

    Funny that JK mentioned the above two. Asahara’s father is a Korean. I don’t recall the latter case, but if it is about the boy from Kobe, then he is a naturalized ethnic Korean. If those people represents the social illnesses in Japan, well, I suppose it sure does in some way.

    Matt draw an article from San Fransisco. California is going to launch a huge stem cell reserch project in SF in the near future. Politicians, scientists, human rights activists, many people has been working for it for a long time, and large amount of money is at stake. What Hwang did pretty much slapped a huge puddle of mud on its face.

    JK, if you think this is only about a scientist losing his face, you just don’t understand the magnitude of its impact. This certainly won’t promote the future stem cell research. Even for you Koreans, some people are already looking into some works of other Korean scientists. They won’t just go, “Oh, this one is from Korea, so the data must be fabricated,” but if the seed of doubt was already there and this incident clicked with it, then who should be blamed on?

  8. comment number 8 by: ponta

    1) Again, how did you know errol was Japanese?
    YOu must have super senses telling Japanese from non-Japanese as well as the sharp sense of smell about Ausralian women.

    2) I am willing to talk about the case you mentioned.

    a) where is your blog?

    Since this is off topic, it is not appropriate to talk about it here.Could you give me the link? I am sure you are fair like Matt in that you are ready to respond to the comments against your article.

    b) Which case are you talking about?

    Are you talking about the cult leader called Kin?

    “Kyoto cult leader’s dirty world comes crashing down”

    “Kin is suspected of molesting the girl in his office at the church at around 1 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2002, saying he was going to test her religious devotion, the police said. The girl was staying overnight with her mother at the church to attend an early morning service”

    “Kin, a South Korean national born in Izumi Minami city in Osaka, studied theology in Korea for four years from 1982. After returning to Japan, he engaged in missionary work for a year, formed his church in 1987 and named himself Paul Tamotsu Nagata”


    Are you talking about the case of Lucie Blackman, whose body “was recovered from a seaside cave, 200 yards from one of Obara’s apartments, cut with a chainsaw into ten pieces.”?

    English readers must know this case.

    Obara “was born Kim Sung Jong in 1952 to Korean parents in Osaka. His father was a poor immigrant who built himself a fortune in taxis, property and pachinko, the addictive Japanese version of bagatelle”


    In either case, no Japanese support the crimes. Japanese think it is pretty fair to punish them unlike some Koreans who still prase Dr Hwang

  9. comment number 9 by: ponta

    I am happy to find this article selected as “Articles of the Month”



    Blog Rankings For January

    Yeah!!! \(^-^)/
    (*^^)/ ☆;:*:;☆;:*:;☆“Congratulations”☆;:*:;☆;:*:;☆

  10. comment number 10 by: JK

    Ponta, now did I ever say errol was Japanese? All right then, shut the hell up.

    As for my blog, that shall remain my secret for now. But keep showing your lack of objectivity on THIS site to prove my point to my readers on MY site that there are still overly nationalistic Japanese who gloss over Japan’s crimes against Koreans.

  11. comment number 11 by: ponta

    JK thanks.
    “Ponta, now did I ever say errol was Japanese? ”
    Then why did you mention the incident that happened in Japan?
    Tho topic is about the incident in Korea, it has little to do with Japan.
    Eroll criticized Korean soiety,responding to your comments
    And you are the one who have mistakenly judged many times that whoever criticize Korea must be Japanese.
    (Do you want me to quote?)
    So I infered you thought Eroll was Japanese again.
    Is my reasoning wrong?
    If my reasoning is wrong, then why did you pick up the incident in Japan? Why – – – JK?

    “As for my blog, that shall remain my secret for now.

    I am glad you’ll tell me where your blog is.
    I am sure you are going to put up the link pretty soon.
    Personally I have never met ethnic Koreans who boke a promise.

    ” keep showing your lack of objectivity on THIS site to prove my point to my readers on MY site that there are still overly nationalistic Japanese who gloss over Japan’s crimes against Koreans”

    JK, the expression “keep showing” here, coupled with the sentence that follows, presuppose that I am overly nationalistic Japanese who gloss over Japan’s crimes against Koreans.
    However,I am the one who said Japan admitted what she did to Korea and therefore apologized and made reparations.
    I am the one who admitted Japanese mistreatment of POWs during ww Ⅱshould be studied more.
    I am the one who suggested you to move on so that Japan and Korea will construct good relations.
    JK, could you kindly show me the ground for your statement here?
    Could you quote my comments that gave you such a impression?
    I am willing to correct my belief if you have shown me good reasons..
    Or did you say what you said so that you can keep hating Japanese?

  12. comment number 12 by: Ell

    Notice JK ignoring the posts by AG and ponta that corrects the “disturbing incidents” that JK brought as a proof of… whatever he tried to prove (Does he think Korea lacks similar or worse crimes?)

    At least the incidents he listed were crimes committed by Korean nationals in Japan, and he should have the decency to apologize for the mistaken reference.

    There are countless crimes being committed by Korean nationals in Japan NOW, from pocket-picking to murder. If he can harp about the Japanese crimes during WWII (whatever it was that he likes to believe; there was no systematic killing of Koreans or enslaving of the women by the military, as Matt was kind to collect proofs on this blog site), he should be pounding his head for all the crimes his countrymen are committing towards Japanese in real time.

    And again, to refresh his memory, it is not the fraud committed by the one sceintist that is the problem. The problem of Korea is in the whole country putting blind devotion and pride into one scientist and refusing to have doubts, to the point that the country would drive a news station out of service and throw away the valued concept of democracy and free speech.

    Anyhow, if he so believes in the correctness of what he writes, he can give us the link to his blog. But then, by his saying “keep showing your lack of objectivity on THIS site to prove my point to my readers on MY site”, he just basically declared that he would like to keep talking behind everyone’s back. How nice.

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta

    Ell said

    ” he just basically declared that he would like to keep talking behind everyone’s back. How nice”

    wiesunja said

    “Okay, JK, I’ll be more like the Koreans. I’ll communicate to you in a way you can understand.

    *smiling* “Hi, JK! Good to see you!”

    *wait for JK to turn around and then cunningly curse him and make fun of him in a language he doesnt understnad right in front of him, laugh and then steal his money and run off forever. Then when caught by the police, blam Japan for everything that has happened*”

    I hope wiesunja’s comment will turn out be wrong on this point.

  14. comment number 14 by: firesoferebus

    I think this is more of a problem with this person, not the country. The scientist probably lied to the entire country (including the government), who, not knowing too much about this complicated business, took him for his word. I don’t think that the whole country knew about the lie and backed him up. If that had happened the Korean media wouldn’t show it. So I think the tears of the public is from finding out he lied the whole time, not that they had been “found out.”

  15. comment number 15 by: ponta

    ” So I think the tears of the public is from finding out he lied the whole time, not that they had been “found out.””
    That makes sense, but how do you explain those who still support him.

    “Although as many as a hundred thousand of Hwang’s supporters have been deeply disapproving of absurd behaviors of MizMedi, Korean presses and the university panel, MizMedi and the unknown, enormous power have been incapacitating our justifiable opinion”
    free writing #64

  16. comment number 16 by: firesoferebus

    Wow, I didn’t know about that before… Maybe they support him like saying he’s still correct? ‘cuz it isn’t exactly PROOVEN that he was wrong. But that it is weird. If I were the a University Panel, I would drop that claim right away, just in case.

  17. comment number 17 by: Katz

    About the crimes that Koreans commit in Japan I think it’s something that Japanese have to answer not Koreans.

  18. comment number 18 by: syntax

    My dad was a POW in WWII. He was captured by the Japanese and put in a labor camp. The conditions were horrendous, when he entered the camp he was 150 lbs, and when he left he was under 95 lbs. Beaten constantly and starved. The guards were not Japanese but Korean. Should the Koreans be blamed for the war crimes committed against my dad or the Japanese?

  19. comment number 19 by: Katz

    Of course Japanese because they were obliged to serve the Japanese. My uncle too he was a soldier “serving” the Japanese but he still loved Korea.

  20. comment number 20 by: ponta

    Those who should be blamed is people who tortured POws breaking the internatinal laws.
    It might be true that Korean government at present is not responsible for what Koreans did during the war, but Koreans who participated in the war collabolating with Japan should reflect what they had done to POWs just as Japan should learn from what she did during the war.

  21. comment number 21 by: Jason

    ‘cuz it isn’t exactly PROOVEN that he was wrong

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by “proven”, but the investigation panel from the school says he “lied about all of the stem cell lines”. The fabrication itself is not a crime (I guess), so probably the school is the only authority to do the investigation. The panel is now looking into his previous paper and the cloned dog.

    We should not overlook the ethical issues regarding the donated eggs for his experiment. He might have forced his subordinate to donate her eggs. The investigation panel is now investigating an allegation that he used 1200 human eggs. Egg donation may cause a condition called OHSS, which have serious risk. I wonder how many of the high schoolers knew about it when they signed up for egg donation:

    The Web site includes a telling comment from a man saying he “fought” with his wife because she refused to sign up. The site deems those who do sign on as “angels” in the “patriotic army”; an entire high school class of 33 girls has signed up. Conversely, there have been death threats against journalists critical of the effort.

  22. comment number 22 by: firesoferebus

    I agree with what ponta says (if I interpreted it correctly?). The people who tortured the POWs should be punished (along with anyone who ordered the torture) and Japan should also learn from what it did.

  23. comment number 23 by: tomato

    So the Koreans always blame the Japanese for their troubles. That’s so great! People who don’t reflect on theirselves never go forward, I must say.

    Just look at the racist comments the Korean friends here like to make, notwithstanding kind advices from the friends from other countries not to. So I have to assume that the Koreans who come here have no doubts at all about their racial supremacy and regard all other races as inferior, especially the Japanese (strange it is how Japan seems more developed and freer than Korea). I guess racist thinkng is taught in the Korean schools or it is the way of thinking of the people. Just sad. So the legacy of the Third Reich lives on, even when its imperial ally has fallen and its subject nation freed.

    By the way, Korea’s role in the second world war is similar to the role Austria played in the same. However, the Korean government likes to make believe that it joined the allies through some insignificant separtist “government” located somehwere in China. Good for them!

  24. comment number 24 by: Errol

    tomato Said:

    January 6, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    So the Koreans always blame the Japanese for their troubles. That’s so great! People who don’t reflect on theirselves never go forward, I must say.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ quotes/e/eldridgecl163167.html

  25. comment number 25 by: Errol

    Try that again


  26. comment number 26 by: Errol


  27. […] After weeks of scandal over fabricated cloning results that cost Dr. Hwang Woo-sukhis job and reputation – in South Korean and internationally – Hwang has unveiled is comeback plan: “Working closely with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) special weapons researchers, I have unlocked the technology required to clone military equipment, including jet fighters, submarines, and other attach vehicles,” said Hwang at a joint NIS/MoD news conference on Monday. “I definitely have the source technology to produce tailored attack vehicles, and I can replicate the process any time.” (emphasis added) […]

  28. comment number 28 by: Errol

    The STORY continues …

    The prosecution launched a probe into scientist Hwang Woo-suk focusing on suspicions that he may have gained funding from the government under false pretenses and misappropriated the money.

    After Seoul National University announced its final report yesterday, the prosecution is able to begin its own investigation of Hwang.

    Prosecution officials said that depending on the result of the prosecution’s probe, Hwang and his team may face charges of fraud and embezzlement related to the huge sums of national funds he received to support his fabricated research.

    University embezzlers you have been warned.

    This year’s 290 billion won allocated for the Brain Korea Project is not for your personal Snuppy/Piggy Bank account. Get your snouts out of the trough.

  29. comment number 29 by: Jason

    Could anyone tell me if my translator is working right? I can’t believe my eyes:

    A hospital allegedly removed ovaries of patients without their consent at the request of Hwang.

    Researchers might have used their own sperm to produce fertilized eggs to be used for Hwang’s experiment.

  30. comment number 30 by: GarlicBreath

    “I want to become another Hwang Woo-Suk for Korea.”

    Said Kim Tae-kook. And he got his wish.

    South Korean scientist caught faking breakthrough research

    Wacky Coreans can’t seem to follow the rules.

    SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean scientist who once said he wanted to be as famous as now-disgraced stem cell expert Hwang Woo-Suk has been caught faking his study, news reports here said Saturday.

    Some of kooky tae Kooks famous words.

    “Hwang is just an isolated case. There are many, many other brilliant Korean scientists who can rival top international researchers in making biotech products,” said Kim Tae Kook, a professor at the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

    He claimed in June to have created a newly-synthesized small molecule, which enables human cells to avoid ageing and make cells younger.

    “For the first time in the world, our team has discovered the substance that could slow the ageing of human cells and at the same time cause a reverse reaction,” the professor said.

    Yep Hwang was an isolated case. LOL tae KOOK. Wacky Coreans can’t follow the rules. Wacky LOL, just wacky.

  31. comment number 31 by: GarlicBreath

    sigh.. not again.
    Greed+Blind Nationalism+Coreans =Yet ome more sceintific fraud case. This time Kim Tae-Kook promised a “foutain of youth”. He lied.

    Korean scientists create ‘cellular fountain of youth’

    Shame. Giving the elderly so much hope… but it was all a big lie.

    A team of Korean scientists on Sunday (June 11) claim to have created a “cellular fountain of youth,” or a small molecule, which enables human cells to avoid aging and dying.

    Notice how they stress how it was KOREAN SCIENTISTS

    Many many more to come.