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(LEAD) Surge in racist remarks on Internet prompts state intervention

All Headlines 17:36 April 18, 2012

(ATTN: UPDATES with prime minister's remarks, details in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- The state media watchdog said Wednesday it will strengthen action against racist remarks posted on the Internet, as their number surged following the apparent murder of a South Korean woman by a Korean-Chinese man.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) said it will boost monitoring and censorship of racist and discriminatory remarks on online forums, to prevent further harm to foreign laborers in the country.

"Ever since the murder in Suwon, expressions of hatred and extreme discrimination have been on the rise," said Nam Hye-young, a KCSC official overseeing censorship of illegal information. "(We) will focus our censorship efforts on this trend we're seeing."

The Korean-Chinese murder suspect is accused of kidnapping and killing a 28-year-old woman at his home in Suwon, south of Seoul, early this month. The case sparked a public outcry over the police's delayed response to an emergency phone call the victim made hours before her death. The nation's police chief took responsibility for the incident and resigned several days later.

The KCSC's move comes alongside online racist remarks attacking Lee Jasmine, a naturalized Korean from the Philippines, who was elected to parliament in last week's general elections.

The watchdog said it has reviewed and deleted six offensive posts since early this year, including one that insulted the Korean-Chinese people for their apparent smell.

Another post claimed the growing number of multicultural families in the country was supported by communists, saying they should be killed because they "make the Korean gene rot."

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik expressed concern at such remarks and ordered the government to tackle the issue.

Speaking during a government meeting handling policies on multicultural families, he said, "Multiculturalism is not a choice but a necessity in this age of globalization.

"(We) should provide comprehensive remedial measures so as to prevent a deepening of contempt for foreigners, which, in a way, results from a social pathology."

The meeting also finalized a support plan for marriage immigrants and children of multicultural families this year, which includes more opportunities for education and job training, as well as a guaranteed minimum wage and insurance payments.


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