April 16, 2024


 Newspaper accounts of the Hwang debacle brought to light something that BioEdge missed earlier in the year: a South Korea postage stamp honouring his achievement. This was, according to Korea Post, the world-first of creating human embryonic stem cells in February 2004, which it describes as "another step forward in liberating humankind from incurable diseases that have inflicted untold human suffering for almost eternity". The only ethical controversy highlighted by Korea Post is the danger that cloning embryos might turn into cloning babies.

The stamp has two panels. On the left a cell is being manipulated and on the right a paralysed man is bounding out of his wheelchair, kicking up his heels and embracing his girlfriend. With a tantalising vision like this on their stamps, it is no wonder that Hwang is so warmly supported by ordinary Koreans.