Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh se chul arrested

This is from the Korea Times:

Economist Nabbed for Praising Socialism

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Police arrested a renowned economist for speaking out against capitalism, which is in violation of the National Security Law. Civic groups and academics are criticizing the government for suppressing so-called progressive scholars over false information.

Some are worrying whether these new moves will bring back the ``public security'' era when police used excessive force against people under the name of ``keeping the peace'' in the authoritarian era of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Wednesday it had arrested Oh Se-cheol, honorary professor at Yonsei University, and seven other Socialist Workers League of Korea members on Tuesday. The eight are now being questioned in Ogin-dong, central Seoul, over whether they have criticized capitalism and praised socialism as well as other acts considered benefiting the enemy ― the North Korea.

The police spokesman said Oh, chairman of the league, and others have released leaflets and other materials denouncing liberal capitalism. The group's flags were seen at the candlelit protests against U.S. beef imports, he added.

The investigative body also said Oh openly sought the establishment of a revolutionary socialist group saying, ``We are the revolutionary forces that declare the world proletarian revolution publicly and express the determination to struggle with the proletariat of the world including Korea in the history of the workers' movement and communist movement in Korea after 1945,'' on the group's Web site.

However, academia and others are criticizing the police's moves since Oh is well known for denouncing North Korea. Roh Hoe-chan of the minor New Progressive Party said, ``Oh and his groups constantly said the North has been polluted with other ideas in socialism, which all socialists should `refrain from following'. Shouldn't the group be defined as anti-North Korean?''

About 10 civic groups held protests in front of the investigation room saying, ``Why should they be punished for talking about what they believe in, which is obviously not praising the enemy?''

``Oh criticized capitalism even under the military junta in the 1970s but was never prosecuted for violating the law. I do not understand the government's ethics on the issue,'' Prof. Han Sang-hee of Konkuk University said calling for the government's respect on a variety of social ideas.

Some speculate the investigation will see a revival of the debate about whether the National Security Law should be abolished. The law bans all kinds of praise, promotion or sympathy toward the enemy. In this case, the enemy is North Korea, experts say.

Since a reconciliation mood swept the Han peninsula in 2000, there were only two other cases of such groups being involved in violation of the law. During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the law was submitted for abolishment at the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Suwon District Public Prosecutors' Office said it caught a female North Korean spy disguised as a defector. According to the office, 34-year-old Won Jeong-hwa disguised herself as a defector in China, married a South Korean man and came to the South in 2001. Then she contacted several military officers and handed over confidential information to the North.

The office has also arrested a military captain who handed over information and another man for delivering such stuff to the North.

1 comment:

  1. .. and the Seoul Prosecutor Office's new department for 인터넷 신뢰저해사범 전담 (how to translate this? 'Internet Criminals Who Break the Public's Faith'?) have arrested the activists who set up the anti-조중동 cafe at Daum.

    Is capital becoming even more sacred than the state?