Posted February. 22, 2005 22:46,
The government will confer decorations on leftist independence activists including Mongyang Yeo Woon-hyung, who had been excluded from decoration for contribution to the country under Japans colonial rule.
The Patriots and Veterans Administration Agency announced yesterday that it will award prizes for 165 contributors such as 108 Samil Movement activists, including Kim Jin-young and Bae Hee-du, and 57 anti-Japanese Movement activists during the Japanese imperialism on March 1, the anniversary of the Independence Movement of March lst.
Fifty-four contributors for national independence, including Yeo Woon-hyung (Presidential Order of Merit for National Foundation), Gwon Oh-seol (Independence Order of Merit for National Foundation), Cho Dong-ho (Independence Order of Merit for National Foundation), and Gu Yeon-heum (Patriot Order of Merit for National Foundation), had been ruled out from the decoration conferment list due to their leftist leaning.
Conferees of the anniversary of 3.1 Independence Movement includes 35 of the Order of Merit for National Foundation, 29 of the Medal of Merit for National Foundation, and 101 of the Presidential Commendation. Only one person is alive among those 165 conferees.
On this anniversary, however, there is no subject for the National Order of Merit (first rank), which is the highest order. According to the current provision, people who participated in the independence movement or were imprisoned for more than eight years under the Japanese imperialism are subjects for the first and second ranked Order of Merit for National Foundation.
Shin Yong-ha (honorary professor at Seoul National University), the chairman of Qualification Committee on National Merit, explained at a press interview on the day, In the case of Mongyang, he fulfilled the qualifications for both the first and second ranked Order of Merit for National Foundation. However, social attention had been concentrated on the decoration to Mongyang, while opposition against the reward itself to him arose. The committee decided to decorate him with the second order after a thorough examination through secret voting by committee members.