Das geteilte Land - KOREA

2013 Der Druck auf die Regierung nimmt zu

Südkorea, 2013

Fünf Texte aus Hankyoreh, Okt-Nov.2013

Nov.28 - Religious Organizations Turn up Pressure seeking Prs. Park's resignation

Nov.27 - Priest could face National Security Law opver comments

Nov.26 - Editorial: President should respond sternly to state interference, not priest’s comments

Nov.26 - Park administration's prickly reaction to priest's comment

Oct.17 - Civic groups launch efforts to protest Park administration's broken promises

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Religious organizations turn up pressure seeking Pres. Park’s resignation

Hankyoreh
Posted on : Nov.28,2013

Groups say they have little faith that the government will responsibly deal with illegal election interference

By Cho Yeon-hyun, religion correspondent

As some Protestant organizations join calls for the President Park Geun-hye to step down, it appears that religious organizations are shifting from efforts to investigate the unfair presidential election toward putting pressure on the president to step down. This reflects a sense of hopelessness about reasonable calls for an investigation to be carried out into state institutions’ interference in the election and for those responsible to be punished being repeatedly blocked by the state powers.
That is to say, the underlying motivation for the change in direction is the sense that, if democracy is being impeded by the power of the state, the religious organizations that led the fight for democratization in the past have no choice but to take action. Another factor behind religious organizations intensifying their struggle against the government could be the ruling party and Park administration’s decision to use recent remarks by Catholic priest Park Chang-shin from the Jeonju diocese as an excuse to portray the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) as pro-North Korea.
The Christian Joint Measures Committee for the National Intelligence Service’s Election Interference, which is composed of 29 Protestant organizations, including the National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace, held a press conference on Nov. 27 at the Korean Christian Building in Seoul’s Jongno district. At the press conference, they declared that last December’s presidential election was unfair because of the interference of state institutions and called on President Park to step down.
“Instead of revealing the truth about state institutions’ interference in the presidential election and prosecuting those responsible, the current administration tried to cover it up by forcing out the prosecutor-general and the prosecutors involved in the investigation and repressing critics by accusing them of being pro-North Korea,” the committee said in a clear expression of its sentiments.
The joint committee criticized the ruling Saenuri Party’s concerted attack on Catholic priest Park Chang-shin, saying that the party was trying to portray remarks from a sermon based on faith and conscience as pro-North Korea. “Behavior of this sort is reminiscent of the government repression during the Yushin dictatorship 30 years ago,” they said.
It appears that one factor affecting the decision by progressive religious organizations to take direct action is the sense that the current political situation could bring the country back into dictatorship. These are the groups that led the democratic movement, standing up to government oppression under the dictatorships of former presidents Park Chung-hee and of Chun Doo-hwan.
“When the justice of God disappears, the clergy must work until justice is restored,” said Jeong Tae-hyo, head of the National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace. “In fact, there were quite a few regions where the activities of the conference had effectively stopped because they believed that democracy had been more or less achieved. But due to the behavior of the current administration, our regional organizations will be acting again, and we will start holding regional prayer meetings once more.”
While calls from the clergy for President Park to resign are increasing as Park Chang-shin faces an attack from the government, there are still differences of opinion among the clergy and religious organizations about the demands for the president’s resignation. The Korean YMCA, one of the 30 organizations that are participating in the joint committee declined to take part in the press conference, explaining that its board of directors had not yet discussed the matter.
The National Council of Churches in Korea removed itself from the list of participating organizations because its Committee for Finding the Truth about the National Intelligence Service’s Interference in the Presidential Election had not yet completed its fact-finding mission.
Lotus World issued a manifesto on Nov. 28 signed by 1,012 Buddhist monks of the Jogye Order who want the Park administration to repent and want democracy to be defended. Lotus World also called for the appointment of a special prosecutor and for the end of efforts to foment ideological discord.
With the news that the prosecutors will investigate Park Chang-shin, there is also an increasing sense among Catholics that they cannot just abandon him to his fate.
Sources at the CPAJ indicate that when the preparatory committee for the association’s general assembly convenes on Dec. 2, it will decide on the association’s official position on the Jeonju diocese’s special mass.
“By disregarding the thrust of Park Chang-shin’s remarks and blowing one small part out of proportion, they have thrown fuel on the fire,” said one priest with the association who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They are trying to make it look like only a small portion of priests are critical of the election interference, but in reality 70-80% of priests are critical of the illegal acts of state institutions.”
Meanwhile, three conservative Protestant organizations including the Presbyterian Church of Korea held a meeting at Yeongdong Church, which is located in the vicinity of the location of the press conference where the joint committee demanded Park’s resignation.
“The special masses officiated by some priests and the remarks by Park Chang-shin are rash actions that are opposed to the government and that support North Korea,” the organizations said. “Religion aside, as citizens we feel intense anger and strongly condemn these actions.” 

 


 

Priest could face National Security Law over comments

 

Hankyoreh
Posted on : Nov.27,2013

Legal experts says Park Chang-sin’s comments are not likely enough for him to be convicted according to NSL

By Kim Won-chul, staff reporter and Park Im-geun, North Jeolla correspondent

Conservative organizations are rushing to lodge complaints against Catholic priest Park Chang-shin for violating the National Security Law through comments he made about North Korea’s 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in a special mass held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ). It appears that the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office will soon decide which local office of the prosecutors will handle the case.
Many legal professionals believe that it will not be easy to substantiate the charges based only on Park’s comments. Nevertheless, the prosecutors are likely to follow the wishes of President Park Geun-hye, who came forward to say that she will not “tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust or divides people.”
On Nov. 26, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office discussed where to assign Park Shin-Chang’s case, since complaints have been lodged at their offices, the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office, and the Gunsan branch of the Jeonju Prosecutors‘ Office. “We were planning to assign the case today, but we received another complaint from a conservative organization late in the afternoon, so the decision was delayed,” said a source at the Supreme Prosecutors Office who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We might get more complaints in the future, so we will assign them all at once after waiting a little longer.”
According to protocol, the case would be assigned to the Gunsan branch, which has jurisdiction over Gunsan in North Jeolla Province, where Park made the comments. But the assignment has reportedly been delayed since the president herself got involved in the case and since there are not many prosecutors in Gunsan with experience in security issues. Given these circumstances, if the case is assigned to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, it will be difficult to avoid criticism that the decision was politically motivated.
The complaints lodged by the conservative organizations accuse Park Shin-chang of violating the “praise and incitement” clause of the National Security Law.
Article 7 Clause 1 of the National Security Act says that “any person who praises, incites or propagates the activities of an antigovernment organization, a member thereof or of the person who has received an order from it, or who acts in concert with it, or propagates or instigates a rebellion against the State, with the knowledge of the fact that it may endanger the existence and security of the State or democratic fundamental order, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than seven years.”
During a special mass to call on President Park to step down - held at the cathedral in the Susong neighborhood of Gunsan in North Jeolla Province on Nov. 22 - Park Shin-chang asked the audience, “What is North Korea supposed to do if the US and South Korea continue their military drills around the NLL, which is disputed territory?” When audience said, “shoot,” Park said, “Of course they’re going to shoot. That was what the Yeonpyeong Island shelling was all about.”
However, there are many observers who hold that Park Chang-shin’s remarks should not be seen as a violation of Article 7 of the National Security Law. “It’s not easy to prove charges that someone was aiding the enemy simply because something they said appeared in the media,” said a lawyer with a lot of experience in national security legal cases during a previous career as a prosecutor and spoke on condition of anonymity. “The only way to convict Park Shin-chang is by demonstrating that there is a connection between his comments and North Korea.”
A senior judge working in Seoul who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “If there is no additional evidence that can show that Park Shin-chang made the comments with the objective of aiding an anti-government organization, the comments by themselves are probably not enough to get a guilty verdict.”
The Supreme Court takes a strict view about the requirements for convicting someone according to Article 7 Clause 1 of the National Security Law. “The collaboration that is prohibited by Article 7 Clause 1 of the National Security Law must involve the individual actively expressing to others an intention to respond to and join in the activity of an anti-government group,” the court said. “There must be a clear possibility that this collaboration could do actual harm to ‘the existence and security of the State or democratic fundamental order.’”
It appears that the prosecutors will generally examine what Park Chang-shin said and did in the past and along with the situation immediately before and after the comments. “It may also be necessary to review all of Park’s past statements in order to demonstrate what he really meant by these comments,” said a source at the prosecutors who spoke on condition of anonymity. 


President should respond sternly to state interference, not priest’s comments
[Editorial]

Hankyoreh
Posted on : Nov.26,2013

President Park Geun-hye has made it clear that she plans to respond sternly to comments made during a recent special mass calling for her resignation held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ). Speaking about “a lot of activities that are stirring up confusion and divisions” during a Nov. 25 meeting of senior Blue House secretaries, Park said that she and the rest of the administration “do not intend to tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust and divides people.” Her remarks seems to have been directed at comments by veteran priest Park Chang-shin, who gave a sermon on Nov. 22 at the mass urging Park to resign.
The President’s remarks about “not tolerating” participants in the mass come across as quite belligerent. Indeed, it sounds like she was telling her cabinet to find anything in the law they could to punish the participants. At one point, she asked the secretaries for their “firm commitment not to bow to or in any way tolerate any mistakes for the sake of the public.” This seems to suggest that the authorities may be at work this very moment thinking of ways to punish the mass’s participants. It’s disturbingly reminiscent of the president’s father, Park Chung-hee, ordering “detentions and investigations” during his administration in the 1960s and 1970s. The idea of a president making what comes across as threats to the public over behavior she doesn’t like is an unfortunate legacy from the past. No matter how unpleasant Father Park’s remarks may have been to the president, it is not her place to take action on them.
President Park’s remarks are part of a typical pattern of blaming others. To hear them, you would think she had nothing at all to do with the kinds of divisions and conflicts she’s talking about. In truth, she bears much of the blame for the tumultuous state of the country and politics right now. The reason the divisions have escalated so much is because she did not take action early on when revelations of state interference in last December’s presidential election began to surface. The person she needs to be looking at right now is herself.
It‘s also unsettling to see figures who have responsibility in the administration and the Saenuri Party (NFP) scurrying to take advantage of her remarks. Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said Father Park should be “held accountable” for his remarks, which he called “destructive to the country and supportive of the enemy.” Apparently, the idea is that the priest should be punished as “pro-North Korean.”
Saenuri Party leader Hwang Woo-yea chimed in by saying that popular calls to throw out the election results “really picked up after North Korea recently issued orders for an anti-government campaign in the South.” This is a gross slander against Father Park, someone who dedicated his life to religious practice, and the CPAJ, a group that has endured years of persecution to fight for democracy in this country.
Democracy is a process that matures as issues are discussed and debated in the public sphere. It is utterly undemocratic to clamp down on someone’s speech, or tar it with the taint of ideology, simply because you do not like the message. Whether Father Park was right or wrong to say what he did is a matter for the public to decide through its own heated debate. But if the idea is to beat him down while ignoring the substance of his remarks, that is not democracy.


Park administration’s prickly reaction to priest’s comments

Hankyoreh
Posted on : Nov.26,2013

Ruling party avoiding calls for president to step down and honing in on priest’s N. Korea remarks 

By Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent, Kim Su-heon and Cho Hye-jeong, staff reporters

Key figures in the government and ruling party - including President Park Geun-hye, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, and Saenuri Party leaders - unleashed a barrage of criticism on Nov. 25 in response to comments made on Nov. 22 by priest Park Chang-shin. During a special mass calling for Park’s resignation held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ), Father Park Chang-shin mentioned North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

During her morning meeting with Blue House secretaries, President Park referred to Father Park’s comments. “There have been a lt of activities that are stirring up confusion and divisions,” the president said. “Do not intend to tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust and divides people.” Park had previously brought up the fact that Nov. 23 was the third anniversary of North Korea’s provocative shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

Park continued by saying, “Not only has North Korea failed to show contrition for its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, it continues to threaten to turn the Blue House into a sea of fire. National security cannot be preserved through cutting-edge weaponry alone. Even more important is the patriotism and the unity of the people.”
The remarks made by Prime Minister Chung were even more strident. During an emergency meeting of senior officials, Chung criticized Park Chang-shin’s remarks as “destructive to the country and supportive of the enemy.”
“Park Chang-shin may be a priest, but he is first and foremost a citizen of this country. Not only is he parroting the arguments of North Korea by making statements that violate the basic duties of a citizen, he is also overlooking North Korea’s provocative action. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. He must be held responsible for his actions,” Prime Minister Chung said.
In a meeting of the supreme council of the Saenuri Party, party leader Hwang Woo-yea said, “We must be cautious and pay careful attention to allegations that efforts to reject the results of the presidential election really picked up after North Korea recently issued orders for an anti-government campaign in the South.” Hwang’s remarks basically make it sound as if calls for Park to resign are connected with orders from Pyongyang.
Hwang also continued to blame the opposition parties for the remarks. “Since the Democratic Party, the Justice Party, and independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo have established the so-called ‘new opposition alliance’ with the civic groups that are calling for the resignation of the president, they need to make their position clear on the activity of these groups.”
After the ruling party launched the blistering attack focusing on isolated remarks in the special mass, the Democratic Party responded that the point of the mass was on the illegal actions of state institutions ahead of last December’s presidential election and the attempt to cover these up.
During the supreme council of the Democratic Party, party floor leader Jeon Byung-hun criticized the attack from the Park administration. “The Blue House and the Saenuri Party are trying to use farfetched arguments to cover up the state institutions’ illegal actions and to link the priest’s comments with us. This is political scheming and manipulation of public opinion.”
Analysts believe that the ruling party sees Park Chang-shin’s remarks as a chance to turn around the political situation and has accordingly launched a full-out assault.
“The point of the special mass was to call on the president to step down, but the attack is only focusing on the comments about Yeonpyeong Island,” said political commentator Yu Chang-seon. “The attack on pro-North Korea elements seems to be aimed at shutting down calls for the president to resign before they can spread to other parts of the religious establishment.”
CPAJ will hold a national meeting on Dec. 11 and the progressive monks order will hold a meeting on Nov. 28 at the Jogye Temple in Seoul where they are expected to release a manifesto calling for the Park administration to repent for its violations of democracy. A group of protestant priests are also scheduled to hold a meeting and a fasting and prayer session between Dec. 16-25 calling for Park’s resignation.
“If the ruling party continues its ideological attack, they may have more to worry about than the allegations about government agencies interfering in the election. This could also have an impact on passing the budget bill and other legislation related to the people’s livelihood,” said Yong In University professor Choi Chang-ryul.
“The ruling party needs to resist the lure of describing everything in terms of security. The opposition party must clearly set itself apart from the demands for the president to resign so as to stop giving the ruling party grounds for attacking it,” Choi said. 


 Civic groups launch efforts to protest Park administration’s broken promises

Hankyoreh
Posted on : Oct.17,2013 16:34 KST

In campaigning for president, Park made broad pledges on welfare and other issues that she hasn’t honored 

By Im In-tack, staff reporter

Civic groups are staging a major campaign to pressure President Park Geun-hye into honoring the pledges she made during last year’s presidential election campaign.
The groups claim that Park has abandoned no fewer than 18 of the promises she made while running as the Saenuri Party (NFP) candidate last year.
Over 100 groups, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, staged a press conference on Oct. 16 on Seoul Plaza, in front of Seoul City Hall, to announce plans for a “battle to denounce the Park administration’s abandonment of its election pledges and call for the pledges to be carried out.”
The groups predicted the administration would run into heavy public opposition by failing to honor its pledges. In particular, they noted that most of the unhonored pledges - including full state subsidies for four major categories of illness, lowering of the maximum patient responsibility for healthcare, and a 200,000 won (US$187) basic pension for all senior citizens older than 65 - were intended for “ordinary citizens” and socially disadvantaged workers, young people, and the elderly.
The groups identified 18 main pledges, in areas such as healthcare, social services, education, and economic democratization that they say Park and the ruling Saenuri Party have failed to honor.
In terms of healthcare, they pointed to promises for the state to pay 100% of costs for four major categories of illness, reduce regional disparities in healthcare services, and lower the maximum healthcare amount payable by the patient.
In a television debate last December, Park’s opponent, Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in, asked whether she planned to apply health insurance to the four major categories of illness and three uncovered healthcare services, namely nursing, hospital room upgrades, and fees for special treatment and consultation.
“Everything will be covered,” Park replied at the time. “We’ll take 100% responsibility.”
But the groups say the administration’s omission of the three uncovered services in its “plan for stronger guarantees on four major categories of illness” last June meant the patient’s burden was only reduced by 20%.
The government has said it plans to come out with alternative measures by the end of the year.
Another topic of discussion has been the increasing unlikelihood of success in efforts to bridge the regional health care gap, particularly with the shutdown of the Jinju Medical Center in South Gyeongsang Province.
Other pledges missing from next year‘s budget, or otherwise not talked about by the administration, include a parliamentary audit of Ssangyong Motor’s dismissal of workers, abolition of the disability rating system, all-day childcare services at elementary schools, reduction of the mandatory military service period for males from 21 to 18 months, and creation of a permanent special prosecutor system for improprieties by presidential associates and relatives. And with the 537.5 billion won (US$503.6 million) budget for free high school education slashed completely and an unrealistically low 400 billion won (US$374.8 million) increase set aside for tuition cuts (tied to family income levels), critics are saying those pledges have also been abandoned like the basic pension.
The groups are planning a string of actions for their battle against the administration. This month, they are holding a press conference to demand implementation of a pledge to halve tuition rates, as well as candlelight vigils to protest abandonment of pledges and a rally to denounce the failure to honor healthcare pledges. Next month, they plan to hold a public reading of Park’s election platform, stage one-person protests in 100 different locations, and organize another press conference on the pledge to halve tuition.
 

 

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