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Argument Over Choi’s Funeral Address

Posted February. 08, 2004 22:21,   


The funeral ceremony of Pusan mayor Ahn Sang-yun was held in the outside plaza behind Busan City Hall at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning, with 5,000 politicians, public officials, and citizens in attendance.

Oh Keo-don, chief funeral commissioner and acting agent of the Busan mayor, mourned at the ceremony, saying, “how could you advance the departure date with your beloved people? Now, the 150,000 Busan city employees will follow up on your great undertakings.”

Park Ky-young, a high-school colleague and chairman of the National Assembly, said, “as I stand here as an offender, I am truly sorry and have nothing else to say.”

Grand National Party (GNP) chairman Choi Bung-ryul spoke as a representative companion and said, “you should have stopped following the president when he asked you ‘let’s go together.’ Third-class politics have killed you. The one who should have really committed suicide is not you, but the nation’s power and its politics.” Chairman Choi and Ahn are the tenth graduate colleagues of Pusan high school.

Some officials showed tears as the recorded voice of Ahn was played during the ceremony. Democratic Party chairman Cho Sun-hyung and Uri Party chairman Jung Dong-young were at the ceremony along with 30 members of the government and the opposition party. Eight members of the wide community were also at the ceremony except for Chongbuk governor Lee Won-jong, who was on a business trip overseas.

After the ceremony, the funeral parade held a street ceremony in front of the mayor’s mansion in Sooyoung-gu Namchun-dong for 20 minutes. Then it arrived in Younglak Park after passing Kwangah road and Dongbaek Island. The remains of mayor Ahn were placed in a charnel house after cremation; his portrait and soul were enshrined at the Naewonjung temple in Seodaeshin 4-dong, Seogum Pusan.

The funeral committee and Pusan GNP members had a war of nerves on Saturday regarding Choi’s funeral address.

The funeral committee said that the same opportunity to make a funeral address should be given to Uri Party chairman Jung according to the principle of “ruling out political intentions,” which caused a stir with GNP members who replied by saying, “how can there be no chance for the chairman to make a funeral address at a funeral of its member?” In the end, the two sides negotiated so that Choi would make a funeral address as a representative companion and not a party chairman.

Wide community members also said to Choi at a restaurant that “we should make aggressive responses to the opposition’s threat to wide community members,” criticizing the weak responses of the party’s top members. Some members even insisted on handing a dismissal motion to Justice Minister Kang Kum-sil.

Meanwhile, there were arguments over the political merits and demerits of the citizen’s consensus in Kyung-nam province (PK) from the incident.

Member Kim Jong-ha said at a press conference that “there are talks in PK that president Roh killed Ahn, and that former governor Kim Hyuk-kyu, who withdrew from the party, is a traitor.” On the other hand, a Pusan member said that “it would bring contrary results if we politicized Ahn’s suicide.”

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