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[Editorial] Government Should Take Firm Stand against Hangchongnyon

[Editorial] Government Should Take Firm Stand against Hangchongnyon

Posted August. 10, 2003 21:49,   


Members of Hanchongnyon, or the Federation of Korean University Student Councils, barged into a U.S. military shooting range and staged an illegal demonstration on top of a U.S. armored vehicle recently. After the rally on top of the military vehicle, demonstrators then blocked police buses that had rounded up demonstrators who had been sought after on arrest warrants. It is appalling that those who perpetrated such illegal acts in a democratic society went as far as trying to obstruct the execution of the law instead of reflecting on their behavior. All they were really doing was taking advantage of their numbers through the power of the majority. Against this backdrop, it is difficult to believe that the student group is an organization supporting democracy.

President Roh Moo-hyun expressed regret over the incident to the U.S. and promised to ensure that such incidents would not take place again. The president should take a firm stand against the incident by preparing countermeasures to prevent such incidents from happening in the future as well as arresting the rally participants.

What will U.S. citizens think when they see Korean college students illegally occupying a U.S. armored vehicle while burning U.S. flags? What impact will complaints made by some members of the American media have on the country`s role in protecting Korea and on Korea-U.S. relations? It is not difficult to understand why U.S. Forces Korea requested the South Korean government to punish rally participants harshly. The demonstrators disrupted legal order, while damaging amicable relations between Korea and the U.S at the same time.

The government should humbly accept indications that it could have taken proper measures against such protests against U.S. forces. The government’s decision to remove many Hanchongnyon members from its wanted list, though the group has not changed in any significant way, might have blocked government agencies, including the police, from carrying out their job properly.

The government should reestablish its position on the illegal student group, which has orchestrated a great deal of illegal demonstrations in the past. It should throw the book at those who orchestrated the rally, if any at all, as well as the demonstrators. The government should not protect a group that wears away at the foundation of a nation. The government should understand that there are laws and national interests to protect. We urge the government to consider the fact that illegal and violent demonstrations are no longer acceptable in Korean society anymore and that they run counter to what the public desires.