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Progressive Commentator Retracts ‘Suicide Tax’ Comment

Progressive Commentator Retracts ‘Suicide Tax’ Comment

Posted June. 02, 2009 07:36,   


Progressive political commentator and ChungAng University part-time professor Jin Joong-kwon has apologized for suggesting in 2004 a “suicide tax” when speaking on the death of Hyundai Asan Corp. CEO Chung Mong-hun, who took his own life in 2003.

In a post on the homepage of the New Progressive Party dated last Thursday, Jin said “No room for me to make an excuse,” adding, “It was obviously the wrong thing to do.”

“While I was criticizing the stance of the then opposition Grand National Party and conservative media, which described Chung’s death as the result of unjust political oppression, I perhaps went too far,” he said.

“There is no room for an excuse and I repent for that.”

Jin made the comments in a reply to a post by a user with the ID “Codi.” Codi said, “Whomever he was criticizing, Jin should not have made comments on death so lightly, be it a ruling party or conglomerate leader or a beggar. Can you imagine the pain the person`s children would feel when they read Jin’s comments saying it is waste of money to dispose of their bodies?”

The user added, “If Mr. Jin was the son of the person being criticized, I think he would’ve fought until the critic apologized, not to mention sue for libel,” apparently referring to what Jin said in a May 19, 2004, interview with the online media Surprise.

In the interview, Jin was asked about “the fact that many people called Chairman Chung’s suicide a social murder, and that many politicians were committing suicide while undergoing investigation.” He answered, “It is safe as long as one doesn’t do bad things to commit suicide.”

“They say the administration was to blame but this is nonsense, and I think it would be nice if the government collects a suicide tax. It is bothersome to dispose of such bodies.”

“A person commits suicide when he or she is unjustifiably defamed or disdained, and someone with strong self-confidence would never do such a thing,” he said.

On the suicide of Nam Sang-kuk, then president of Daewoo Engineering and Construction, Jin had wrote an online posting in March 2004 that Nam’s death was not even worth commenting on.

“Mr. Nam saw his misdeed exposed while trying to succeed through illegal means, and he committed suicide because of the shame he felt over that. He shouldn’t have done that shameful thing.”

“When questioned by prosecutors, certain people threaten suicide. Prosecutors should have poison ready and let such a person take it if he or she wants to commit suicide,” he said.

In a contribution published last week in the Seoul daily Kyunghyang Shinmun on former President Roh Moo-hyun’s suicide, Jin said, “This must be called suicide instead of death (of a honorable person), and to be more accurate, it must be labeled murder instead of suicide.”

On the New Progressive Party’s Web site May 23, the day Roh died, Jin wrote, “In this absurd country where a provincial government erects a commemorative park for people who overturned constitutional order through a military coup and pocketed hundreds of billions of won (hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars), people who commit suicide are those more prone to feeling shame over their wrongdoings.”

On his blog last Friday, Jin wrote, “A flood of offensives against me circulating on the Internet has been backed by those in power. I am about to enter a dangerous war, and I have cleared the environment surrounding me to prepare for the war."

"I really don’t feel like fighting but I cannot avoid a certain fight even if I want to, and I am pulling out my sword."