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[Editorial] Minister Chung Should Clear Up the Allegation of Abusing Power in Appointment

[Editorial] Minister Chung Should Clear Up the Allegation of Abusing Power in Appointment

Posted July. 01, 2004 22:26,   


Newly appointed Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chae is suspected of having helped a person get a professor position through the vice minister of culture and tourism before his appointment to minister. According to the petition submitted to the Blue House, Professor Chung Jin-soo of Sungkyunkwan University revealed that Vice Minister Oh Ji-chul had asked for his help in getting someone a professor’s position, while mentioning his relationship with then-Rep. Chung Dong-chae. The person in question, whose name is being withheld, is known to be the spouse of the president of Internet media company Seoprise, which supports Roh Moo-hyun.

The involved people, however, are denying the allegation. Vice Minister Oh is the only person who admits that he told Professor Chung that the husband of the applicant is close to Rep. Chung but refused to accept solicitation from him.

It is quite difficult to know what the reality of this situation is. However, one thing is true: someone is telling a lie. In light of common sense, it would not make sense for Mr. Chung Jin-soo, a professor and director general of the Korean Play Association, to petition a fake story to the Blue House while daring to reveal his own name.

Oh said, “I am totally responsible for the case and regretful that the story is distorted by involving the new minister in the appointment.” But we should not go easy with this case. In a year and a half of Roh Moo-hyun’s administration, where “any power abuse in personnel appointment affairs will result in the bankruptcy of a family,” it is necessary to severely reprimand the person who is involved. If, and only if, Minister Chung is involved in this allegation, we cannot but doubt the morality of participatory government and the Uri Party, and even the ethics of “pro-Roh Internet media.” The Blue House announced that it will thoroughly investigate this case and take any necessary measures. Every involved person has to fear the public’s scrutiny and should tell the truth.

The system of civil affairs in the Blue House must also be reexamined. Although involved with the new minister, it had received no information about that civil petition until the press printed the news. It is quite disappointing that the presidential secretary’s office has reorganized its system several times, in vain.

Kim Soon-duck, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com