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Park Geun-hye Parody Causes Uproar

Posted July. 14, 2004 21:57,   


The Grand National Party requested a formal apology from the President on July 14 regarding an incident involving the placement of a sexual parody picture of Park Geun-hye, former chairman of the GNP, on the website of Cheong Wa Dae (covered on page A5 of the July 14 print version of Dong-A Ilbo). In addition, Justice Minister Kang Geum-sil said at the National Assembly, “I think a general investigation into the details of the incident is necessary,” which will likely amplify the incident.

GNP Rep. Park Soon-ja asked Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan at an interpellation in the society and culture sector at the National Assembly: “The incident denigrates women and is a human rights violation for the opposition leader. Isn’t this politically driven?” and asked for the impeachment of Lee Byung-wan, Presidential chief secretary of public relations.

In addition, GNP Spokesperson Han Seon-gyo said in a briefing that they were “requesting an impeachment of the officer in charge and an apology from President Roh,” and that they “would seek a judicial measure if there is no apology from the President.”

Former GNP Chairman Park Geun-hye, the party concerned, said and expressed discomfort, saying “It is not supposed to be so in general, but is Cheong Wa Dae only at that level?,” adding, “this is unspeakable and pathetic.”

Justice Minister Kang said in an answer session before the National Assembly that, “I think a comprehensive investigation is necessary to find out the motivation, purpose, and other details from the perspective of the Justice Ministry as an investigative organization,” adding, “Whether or not this can be a legal matter has to be decided, but this problem should be approached from the point that it is sexually degrading.”

Meanwhile, Presidential Chief Secretary, Kim Woo-sik, ordered at the July 14 morning meeting of everyday current issue examination to seriously warn Ahn Young-bae, secretary of Public Relations for the National Administration, and the webmaster of the Cheong Wa Dae homepage.

Secretarial Chief Kim said that “the officers in charge were careless and exercised improper judgment,” and strongly rebuked his staffs and said to them, “not to have this kind of incident again,” according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Jong-min.

Presidential chief secretary of public relations, Lee Byung-wan, made a formal apology the same day in the afternoon, saying, “I offer sincere apologies to Former Chairman Park as the person in charge of the chief P.R. team. We will pay additional attention so that an incident like this will never happen again,” and added, “I will make a phone call to Park and express my deepest apologies.”

Cheong Wa Dae deleted the parody picture and the article from the bulletin board on the morning of the same day.

Jung-Hun Kim Yeon-Wook Jung jnghn@donga.com jyw11@donga.com