By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday – "I think it's time to quit my business. China's THAAD retaliation won’t end soon, and keeping a business would be like throwing yourself into the water knowing you're going to die. I'm trying to prevent further harm."
Na Byeong-ho, owner of Japanese restaurant Marado in Wangjing of Chaoyang District, looked hopeless. He came to Beijing in his mid-20s and has been running a restaurant for over 30 years. His onetime ambition of opening more than 100 restaurant chains in China have faded away. His restaurant used to be full of customers almost every Sunday. However, he doesn't expect that anymore. It's because Korean storeowners and companies in China have been suffering tremendous damage recently due to the rising anti-Korean sentiment and the hidden regulations of the authorities following China's THAAD retaliatory moves. In the case of Mr. Na's restaurant, sales have halved and sales plunge is highly likely to continue.
|A panoramic view of restaurants in Wangjing. The restaurants were always crowded in the evening, but it's quiet these days. They are hit directly by China's retaliation./ Photographed by Hong Soon-do|
Such assumption is not an exaggeration considering other businesses in Wangjing, the Korea town of Beijing. Since the end of last month when the THAAD deployment was finalized, their average sales have been declining exponentially. Ohn Dae-sung, who runs a WaraWara chain, said, "I think it just began. It's true considering the rising anti-Korean sentiment among Chinese."
Things are not much different in Korean resident societies in Shanghai, Shenyang, Qingdao, and more. Korean storeowners and small business owners are suffering from a drop in sales for the first time ever without any exceptions. Korean residents say that tragic suicides and bankruptcy may occur if things get worse.
As the situation is serious, Korea Community China has appealed to the Korean Embassy in China to provide measures. Looking at the present atmosphere, the prolonged crisis will inevitably lead to the collapse of Korean societies in China. The mass exodus is clearly a fait accompli. It seems that the intangible assets that have been tough to build up over the past three decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations are now in danger of disappearing suddenly.