Sexy Shanghai Siren? Femme Fatales stealing our secrets? The modern Mata Hari?
Okay, this is the story that I was planning to do a few weeks ago but I never got around to writing it. First, we had the earthquake and tsunami that I thought was more interesting to write about. Then I was out of town the weekend after that. So It’s awfully late, but let me tell you
a bunch of lies fabricated by the Korean media to boost sales or generate page views a news story that had my eyes and ears glued to the media for nearly a week.
Well, okay, it was actually my job to report domestic news in English every day of the week on the radio, and if you only have a 10-15 minute time slot to do it, that means that you have to choose 4 or 5 stories, and they have to be about the big 4 issues. 1. North Korea. 2. Education. 3.
Boring Business or boring economic policy. 4. Scandals involving high profile businessmen or government officials.
So on my rundown for Monday, I picked up a story about a Korean diplomat in the Shanghai consulate who had been caught bending visa rules for someone, and being investigated for it. The investigation revealed that he actually had been having a romantic relationship with her, and she was actually the wife of a Korean businessman who also was living in Shanghai. The diplomat eventually resigned from his post, and that was that… or so I thought.I usually did my reporting at 6:30 PM from whatever the latest is on stories as of 4 or 5 PM. So by the time I was done reporting, I came home and turned on the TV only to find that there were now pictures of her, and word that she had gotten hold of some secret documents (with strong hinting that she had gotten them from her diplomat friend). Then there was word that she’d been having affairs with other diplomats there too. The person who revealed everything was reported to be the woman’s husband, who found “intimate pictures” of the lady on a laptop with several Korean diplomats. The way the story was reported it kind of led the reader to believe that the story played out like this. The woman, Ms. Deng Xinming was a visa broker (someone who helps Chinese who otherwise would be rejected for tourist visas by using her influence on the consulate to get them approved in return for payment from the clients.) She had seduced the several diplomats and got them to give visas to her clients, and got hold of secret information by blackmailing them. By having secret information, she could blackmail the whole consulate so that they’d try to cover up her existence and allow her illegal visa brokering business to continue. The next day I knew I had to revisit the story again because there was so much new information that I hadn’t covered.
Then the speculators came in. There were reports of an investigation into Ms. Deng, suggesting that she was in fact a spy for the Chinese government, was the granddaughter of former Premier Deng Xiaoping (although no evidence existed other than her name being the same), and was using her sex appeal to infiltrate the Korean government. English language newspapers were now calling her the Sexy Shanghai Siren. Now, I hadn’t actually seen her face other than the mosaic photos of her up until this point. I expected this lady to be smoking hot (and must admit that I wanted her to be.) If you squint your eyes when looking at a mosaiced picture sometimes you can trick your eyes into filling in the missing information for you. I did that with the photos and was imagining a totally hot Chinese spy lady… a little something like this.
I reported more on the story the next day, only to find that later even MORE information was coming out. They finally showed a picture of her without any mosaic on the internet. (Those netizens are crafty.) And this is what we got.
I was disappointed to say the least. One of my favorite bloggers, Roboseyo put it this way on his facebook account. “It’s not what you have, but how you use it.” Here, I have to agree. But at this point, I was so disgusted at those diplomats, because they have all been forced to resign, have been kind of humiliated, and will probably never get decent jobs again…. and she’s not even hot. If she were totally hot, then I’d still be really disappointed in them, but I might be able to understand it a little better. Now there were new reports coming in that implied that she had in fact gotten the secret documents from the consul general. They even published photos of her with him, that intended to show evidence that he slept with her. The top photo shows the consul with the “sexy siren” in a hotel lobby. The bottom photo is part of a series that she took of some top secret information that was in his possession. There’s even some data that show these two pictures were taken the same day only a few hours apart, leaving the reader to ponder what they were doing for the two hours between the photos. Scratch that, they didn’t leave the reader to ponder anything, because by then, the Korean language media was already openly suggesting that she traded sex for secrets. I even reported about this (saying only the facts of course, that there were two pictures taken with the same camera only hours apart.)
Well it turns out, after investigating everything, the consul is innocent. the data on those pictures was falsified. Apparently someone simply changed the date that the files were created. (That’s really easy to do.) The “secrets” that Deng acquired didn’t come from the consul, they came from another source who took them from the consul. The pictures of these “secrets” weren’t even taken in the same hotel as the one in which the lobby picture was taken. The “secrets” also don’t really matter anymore (as they were mostly only cell phone numbers of government officials, not secret plans to buy a spy plane or anything.) Ms. Deng is not a spy, she’s a visa broker. She’s also not Deng Xiaoping’s granddaughter. Now put that consul’s neck-sized noose away, most of the interesting facts that made me devote the 4 days leading up to the Japan tsunami to this story ended up being totally false. And that pisses me off.Whenever I have a lot to say on this blog, I am either being critical or complaining, but there is so much in the story to complain about. Should I be more concerned about the stupidity of the diplomats, or should I be more concerned about the way the media lied about so many things. I don’t want to be too critical, because I actually participated in this a bit, but the Korean media really likes to speculate on things when there isn’t any actual evidence. Case in point, you might recall the story of the Virginia Tech student, Mr. Cho Seunghui, who went on a murderous rampage with guns, killing several Va Tech students a few years back. Before Cho’s name had been officially released, the Korean media was reporting that an Asian gunman, possibly Chinese was behind it. When word came out that it had been a Korean, the media said he was a hwagyo and that he was surnamed Wang. This falsehood was widely circulated until seconds before the police announcement that the gunner was Mr. Cho. After that announcement, there was no media retraction, and it was conveniently forgotten. But I was really pissed that blatant falsehood speculation with no evidence had made it to the top levels of Korean media.
This story cooked up by the media of former premier’s granddaugter and Chinese spy, Ms. Deng, fucking secrets out of the consul general leaves just as much of a bad taste in my mouth as the media’s reporting on the fictitious Hwagyo gunman named Wang. I really wish that the media here would report confirmed facts instead of bullshit. My defense is that for the show I was on, I was supposed to scour internet media to deliver these stories, so everyone already knows that my source isn’t straight from the horse’s mouth, but from someone telling me what the horse said (I’m recapping what already has been reported).
I also want to apologize to former consul general Kim, because as I was using Korean media as the source of my reports, I hinted on the radio that he was the leak that provided Deng with the secret information, which was not at all true in the end. I am so sorry, sir.
All media reporting aside, I sincerely hope that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can tell all their employees to keep it in their pants…. or at least just hit it and quit it… or continue to hit it but don’t give illegal visas and secret information.
I also feel very sorry to Deng’s husband, who comes out of this whole thing humiliated more than anyone else. Sure those diplomats lost their jobs because they got played by her, but her husband has a kid with her, and I think it’s safe to say that he’s not in a happy marriage at this point.