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How South Korea's past informs Moon Jae-In's civil rights policy
by Michael Owens
Monday Aug 10th, 2020 7:06 PM
President Moon Jae-In is the current president of South Korea. His presidency began without the typical two-month adjustment period, coming out of the previous scandal involving President Park Geun-hye. His justice minister pick became embroiled in a scandal, and the country’s economy and unemployment rate have taken a turn for the worse. His approval rates have fallen to record lows, as protestors take to the streets. What actions is President Moon taking to bolster his candidacy? Let’s examine how South Korea’s political history has informed President Moon Jae In’s public policy.
President Moon Jae-In is the current president of South Korea. His presidency began without the typical two-month adjustment period, coming out of the previous scandal involving President Park Geun-hye. His justice minister pick became embroiled in a scandal, and the country’s economy and unemployment rate have taken a turn for the worse. His approval rates have fallen to record lows, as protestors take to the streets. What actions is President Moon taking to bolster his candidacy? Let’s examine how South Korea’s political history has informed President Moon Jae In’s public policy.

At the same time Americans were welcoming their nation's very first African American Head of State, people of South Korea were pleased to choose their first female president, President Park Geun-hye. True, her term did finish in impeachment, but it was additionally an unprecedented occasion in the Republic of Korea's brief history.

In America, a solid society has been built on the freedom of the person. However, In Korea, society and also the family unit are taken into consideration to eclipse the rights of the person. To put it simply, the government will commonly refuse to conflict in family members' events. In 2007, a lady in the South Korean city of Ulsan who was a member of Shincheonji church was beaten to death by her ex-husband after refusing to take part in a spiritual conversion program.

More recently, the media was abuzz with the news of Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soo's unforeseen death. Throughout his term as Mayor, he was an ardent protector of specific liberties. In fact, he was at one factor a visiting research study fellow for Harvard's college of Law's Civil rights program. As an attorney, he won the city's initial first harassment sentence. As a mayor, he criticized Japanese soldiers' former mobilization of Korean ladies as sex slaves throughout the Japanese emigration.

Both men were lawyers famous for their human rights work. Head of state Moon has actually called himself a feminist and also his federal government has actually seen the effects. There has actually been a recognizable separation from some culturally common sex functions and also Confucian worths under his management. Just in 2014, South Korea saw the legalization of abortion. Some argue his federal government leans too much on the side of radical feminism, however it may be a matter of viewpoint. Mayor Park was rumored to be a factor to consider as President Moon's running mate in the next political election.

Both of these men were also vocal in their opposition and prosecution of Shincheonji Church and its leaders after the Coronavirus outbreak in Daegu. President Moon called for the church leaders to be severely punished, and Mayor Park in term pressed charges and launched a tax probe. Through these measures, the church’s legal license was revoked, as well as many of their properties. Shincheonji church leaders were jailed to await prosecution on charges of “murder of wilful negligence” and obstruction of justice.


While parliament has in fact advised regulations regulating the act of tracking, discrimination and hate speech pointed towards minority groups, they have not been passed. There is also little adjustment in the federal government's policies, although Head of state Moon Jae-in himself had requested sweeping changes in South Korean public policy.

President Moon as well as Mayor Park were both ardent supporters who provided their voice in assistance in human rights issues. However, when it pertained to prosecuting those liable, the consequences were slow-moving and also underwhelming. The head of state produced a task force, yet there is little news on what the committee has done or is doing. We can only hope that with time, and by consistently attracting even more interest to the issue, things will change. However, as we can see in the case of Shincheonji church, words and actions can be very different.

In 1988, Mayor Park had actually won a landmark situation pertaining to sexual assault, as well as a decade later he won the nation's first unwanted sexual advances fit. Because of this, he was widely thought to be one of the greatest male advocates of women's civil liberties and also feminism throughout the country. His wide appeal resulted in his unanticipated triumph as well as rising to the placement of mayor to begin with. That's why when rumors and also accusations of sexual assault were elevated versus him, it sent out shockwaves across and also throughout South Korea.

A short time after his alleged sexual assault made headlines, as well as he was subsequently found dead with suicide as the thought cause. While South Koreans celebrate him in death, the sufferers of his actions saw him in an entirely different light. Just how did he see himself, that he would take his life in such a means? In such a way, his life suggests the inconsistent nature of human rights in Korea.

The situation that is happening in Korea right now is catastrophic. Regardless of whether or not President Moon is re-elected, this issue will remain as a stain and a lasting legacy of human rights abuse on his presidential record. A president who respects the rights of his citizens will be remembered more favorably than a president who acts simply on economic or financial whims. Korea has a lengthy background, along with what is shaping up to be a lengthy history in its struggle for civil rights, but it is far from over.
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