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School Reform Law Protests to Continue

Posted December. 19, 2005 03:04,   


On December 18, the Grand National Party (GNP) reconfirmed that it will continue to hold open-air demonstrations against the amendment to the Private School Law this week.

A total of 15 GNP lawmakers, including Rhee Q-taek who leads the “center for the invalidation of the private school law and the protection of Korean students,” discussed future protest plans and scheduling at a meeting that day at GNP headquarters in Yeomchang-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul.

At the meeting, director Rhee said, “Korea has 12,000 central pro-North Korea leftists, 320,000 people who share the same view, some of whom are working in the National Assembly, the press, and various kinds of academies,” and claimed that these people are trying to instill leftism into elementary, middle, and high school students by revising the Private School Law.

Rhee further stated that the government and the ruling party lowered the voting age to 19, and that these eligible voters will total 650,000 by 2007. He added, “What they are really trying to do with the revision of the Private School Law is to extend their political power by educating Korean students about leftism.”

Faced with the controversy regarding his remark on central leftists, Rhee explained that he mentioned them based on figures reported in the press, and that he didn’t collect the data himself.

GNP spokesperson Lee Kye-jin stated at a meeting that “all the participants agreed that they will demonstrate the same way they did before.”

The GNP will continue holding a massive open-air rally in Busan and Suwon on December 19 and 22, respectively. However, the GNP is struggling with the backlash from some younger lawmakers, pressure from the ruling party to pass the budget bill and the bills related to the people’s livelihood, and the decline in the interest of the public following the controversy concerning Professor Hwang Woo-suk.

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com