The JoongAng Ilbo reports that Hallim University Medical School dean Kim Yong-seon, whose thesis claiming that Koreans were particularly at risk of contracting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease sparked the whole US beef import uproar, has told friends that media reports have exaggerated his findings, and politicians are misusing them for political gain.
Hallim University Director Yun Dae-won, who is with Kim on business in Finland, told reporters that the professor was quite embarrassed by the mess. Yun said he was speaking for Kim because the latter felt if he did the talking, he’d become an even bigger victim and perhaps be unable to return to Korea.
Kim appeared with Yun during the interview.
Earlier, Kim’s secretary said his boss felt insulted because some of his thesis had been exaggerated by the press.
Yun said the real problem at the heart of the uproar against US beef was not the facts contained in Kim’s thesis, but rather that those facts were being politically manipulated. He said Koreans were currently not making a rational judgment.
He stressed that Kim’s thesis was very specialized, so even other scholars would have a tough time analyzing it haphazardly. He said it was very dangerous to interpret Kim’s findings arbitrarily. In particular, Yun expressed concern about focusing the discussing on US beef. He said this appeared to be political; the real problem was European beef. He noted that only three cows in the United States had been infected with Mad Cow disease, and all three were infected outside the United States.
Then the kicker — Yun said Kim has enjoyed and continues to enjoy eating US beef, both when he was researching Mad Cow Disease in the United States and now. Given this, Yun said, you could probably guess what the professor personally thought about US beef.
As to why Kim did not actively promote his findings, Yun said that since the controversy over US beef erupted, several angry people had visited his home and thrown animal shit at it.
Yun added that as a result of this mess, Kim has begun showing symptoms a nervous breakdown. The two plan to return to Korea after visiting another European university.