Park Geun-hye Rally Photo Doctored Ahead of Election

Presidential candidate Park Geun-hye rally photo doctored

Park Geun-hye’s campaign team are once again the most-talked about thing on the internet as a doctored photo of a Saenuri Party rally that inflated crowd numbers was circulated in South Korean online communities, causing controversy and attracting thousands of comments from netizens.

On Saturday afternoon, Park presented herself to vast crowds in Gwanghwamun, for a major rally 9 days before Koreans take to the polls. However, scandal erupted on Sunday morning as it emerged a photo originally published by news company News1 was doctored by someone to show artificially enchanced numbers in the attending crowds (see above).

Last month, Park’s campagin team threatened a satirist with legal action for painting a pitcure of her giving birth to her father and, just yesterday, TIME magazine was forced to change the headline of a Park Geun-hye cover story to ‘Dictator’s Daughter’, after the Saenuri Party claimed the use of the word ‘strongman’ meant ‘strong leader’.

Many have atrributed the doctoring of the photo to the Saenuri Party itself, and the news will come as a blow to Park and her campaign as it tries hard to shake off her ‘Daughter of a Dictator’ image.

It is not clear if Park’s campaign team were directly behind the doctored photo, or if the netizen who uploaded the image was acting alone. Nevertheless, netizens have found both outrage and humour in the incident, likening it to the practises of a dictatorship not so far away:

Kim Jong Il doctored funeral photo

Kim Jong Il doctored photo

And of course these blasts from the past:

Hitler doctored photo


From NoCutNews:

Controversy Over Doctored Photo of Park Geun-hye’s Gwanghwamun Rally

Press photo randomly doctored to increase the crowds

While Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye and Democratic United Party candidate Moon Jae-in came together on the 8th in Gwanghwamun Square for a large-scale ‘Joint Campaign Event in Seoul’ in order to garner popularity, manipulated photos of the gathered crowd quickly spread online community, attracting concern.

One photo showing candidate Park Geun Hye’s campaign event at 2pm in Gwanghwamun Square yesterday caused much controversy within the online community after an anonymous netizen enlarged the size of the crowd.

In the original photo, while there are chiefly crowds gathered only to the south of the statue of King Sejong the Great, as well as around the left-side steps of the Sejong Centre for the Performing Arts, in the doctored photos, it looks as if there is a crimson crowd [supporters of Park wear red] in all directions around the statue of Sejong, filling Gwanghwamun square, and crowds surrounding the entire Sejong Centre for the Performing Arts.

In particular, due poor photoshopping, part of the statue’s shoulder is missing and there is a difference with the number of cars passing from Gwanghwamun in the direction of City hall.

With regards to the scandal, News1 made an announcement via ‘News1’s position on the fabricated Gwanghwamun campaign picture,’ saying, ‘We have not disclosed any photoshopped pictures,’ and ‘We will track down the details and dissemination routes, and hold the culprits responsible.’

The news sparked a big reaction from netizens after an image comparing the original picture and the composite one was uploaded to an online community.

Some Netizens criticized the making of composite pictures of a certain candidate’s campaigning, saying, “It’s really anachronistic,” “It’s not that surprising. I assumed they faked it or paid someone to do it. The problem is those people accepting news without doubting it,” “It’s somewhat childish so I can’t help cringing.”

Since the news photo is copyrighted by the newspaper however, the culprits could potentially be punished for using it without the consent of the newspaper under the Copyright Law and the Public Official Election Act

Comments from Daum:


Those bird-head bastards at the Saenuri Party would conquer the world through fabrication. Tut tut. Are you proud of the victory this doctoring has got you?


Park Geun-Hye and the Saenuri Party must have been pretty desperate…. But this is way over the top… The public will make a wise decision….


Those who try to fool the people by using the picture and the likes, wake up to your conscience!


I was suspicious of it because I saw grannies and granpas waving the same flag.


King Sejong’s shoulder has been cut out~ huh huh huh Should we laugh or cry at this. How the hell does this group of people end up doing this kind of thing? Park said she would campaign at the City Hall, and suddenly changed the venue to Gwanghwamun to interfere with Moon’s campaign. The photo and number of participants were doctored. I witnessed it yesterday and would say there were double the number of people around Moon [compared with those around Park] but on the news Park was reported to have attracted more people. The evidence lies in the police estimate (after the news was aired, the police estimated more people have come for Moon.)


How meticulous, ke ke It’s heartbreaking ke


It’s no news, they’ve been doing that all the time.


I was there at 03:08PM and watched those old folks waving the national flag; it was nothing like this picture! It’s so absurd I’m at a loss for words.


It doesn’t make sense that there were this many people fighting the cold weather with their fragile bodies ke ke


The Masters of Manipulation, aka the Saenuri Party.


Forgery, manipulation are not something to bother their conscience. They’re so rotten to the core, resorting only to deception. They’re a bunch of unbelievably ridiculous people.


You just have no limits, do you? tsk tsk You’ve only picked up on bad habits, you evil bitch!


Heol… such a thing is possible in 2012. Surely Park is still living in the Yushin era.


I vow to vote.


They’re corrupt through and through…. They employ grannies in their campaigns, fabricate stuff and deceive [the public]…. That party wants the public to become corrupt with them. What’s the use of a new name? [the ruling party changed its name from the Grand National Party to the Saenuri Party in an attempt to refresh its image]… They’re rotten to the heart anyway.


I commend the Birdhead Party[‘Sae’ means bird in Korean]’s for pursuing on the politics of fabrication. Stop fooling the people, you ssibal noms!!


It’s SO unfair. We can’t compete with their epic skills of deception.

Comments from Nate:


I was there around 3 o’clock. There were many people on stairs of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, but there wasn’t anyone at the Sejong statue.. How dare they try and fool us, even though we’ve got a plenty of witnesses! They’re out of their mind.


I personally think the poll results have also been doctored.


Her father [Park Chung-Hee] used to accuse someone of non-existent crimes, and the daughter [Park Geun-Hye] creates non-existent people ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke


Ten days to the election. Let’s vote!


I think the media election poll results are fabricated as well.


Isn’t it so predictable, what it’s gonna be like if she gets elected? Just like the guy who promised to boost the economy [alluding to current president Lee Myung-bak].


There are ten days left until the election on the 19th. Let’s be sure to cast our precious votes that decide the President.


I hear the Ilbe [conservative online community] bugs coming


Just like North Korea lol


Park and the bird-head party is still neck-deep in the 1980s ke ke ke ke ke ke


Those who believe that Park Chung-Hee has improved the economy, please search for the Fraser report [original title: Investigation of Korean-American relations, by US House of Representatives]. Your fantasy about Park will be shattered. The report shows how blatantly what an evil person Park was. The secure document ‘Fraser report’, recently released in US, contains every facet of Park’s dirty identity. You’d know why Park Geun-Hye shouldn’t be the president if you read the report [Here’s the report].


All that Miss Park and the Birdhead Party can do is lie and deceive. It’s common knowledge. Manipulating an election campaign picture is somewhat ‘benign.’


HA! I knew it! They haven’t changed a bit since they were caught bribing people for parliamentary seats. They’re still the same old group of con artists.


There’s no benefit in slandering and fighting each other here. Let’s be sure to vote for the candidate we support on the 19th.


It’s not the 70s or 80s anymore. Man~ I’m embarrassed about other countries seeing this. Shame on you. The Queen [Park Geun-hye] is even acting like this before the election, are people really going to vote for her?

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  • Ruaraidh

    South Korea’s leadership seek entry to the prestigious club of nations that make extensive use of Photoshop in political propaganda. After all it’s the sign of a thriving democracy…

  • 헉산

    the Saenuri Party could indeed be behind this in a poor attempt to glorify their “strong man’s daughter”!
    but politics being politics…the DUP could also be behind this, hence the very poor photoshopping…(I am no photoshop expert, but I find it incongruous that someone who would go to the length of altering a photo to support his political views would leave such mistakes [a missing shoulder! and why would they change the number of cars?])..

    • Observer

      it’s not beyond belief that a political party could make such an a*s of things. ChinaSmack has many examples of Government officials’ miserable attempts at faking images. Many politicians have very limited common sense.

  • holdingrabbits

    If this woman wins then you might as well go ahead and table any pressing social issues for the next 5 years…or more, depending on how long she refuses to let go of power. Is it me or does the Korean populace just really like authoritarian figures?

    • chucky3176

      “Is it me or does the Korean populace just really like authoritarian figures?”

      Right, so Koreans elected, Kim Young Sam, Kim Dae Jung, and Roh Moo Hyun in the past, because Koreans like authoritarian figures??? They were all student activists in the past. Even Lee Myung Bak was a student activist when he was young. In fact, Park Geun Hae is the only one leader who was born with silver spoon in her mouth.

      • holdingrabbits

        It doesn’t matter if the current president was a student activist, because now he isn’t one and one could say he’s everything a student activist isn’t. If someone was a student activist and becomes a corrupt politician who questionably exercises the limits of their power, no one says “they used to be a student activist.” Roh was involved in bribery, Park was involved in insider trading as well as silencing his critics through internet censorship and judicial means, Jeon Du Hwan stole hundreds of millions of dollars (and was allowed to keep most of it!) and had those folks killed for the hell of it, and the Park Chung Hee, the Ronald Reagan of Korea. There are more, but especially in the case of Jeon Du Hwan I can’t believe this man wasn’t executed on public television or hasn’t be assassinated by a member of the general public. Anyway, maybe they aren’t all bad, but it’s more like a 50/50 shot. pretty much 1/3 of Korea’s time after the war has been controlled by violent power hungry dictators who will go down as saints in Korean history.

        • chucky3176

          Kim Dae Jung, Kim Yong Sam, Roh Moo Hyun were all once political dissidents who went to jail, not just student activists. So your claim that Koreans only vote in authoritarian figures are blatantly false.

          • holdingrabbits

            Luckily, I didn’t say that Koreans only voted in authoritarian figures. It does seem however that people are willing to forgive a lot of crazy stuff. Taking down your superiors just isn’t the culture here, no matter how corrupt, evil, or lazy they are.

      • Yu Bum Suk

        chucky, while it might not be a “vast” majority it does seem there are a lot of Koreans who feel more comfortable with an authoritarian-like leader, someone in charge they can trust. This seems especially true of the older generation today, who really don’t like “the look” of the younger generation. They hear about the huge decline in school discipline, see teenagers and young women smoking in public, and see them interact with elders in ways that may seem fine to westerners but are a lot different from the past, and think the country could use a bit more control. I think that’s a lot of PGH’s appeal, even if she doesn’t in the end act like an authoritarian figure.

        In Canada crime has been steadily on the decline, yet Harper, the PM, can still win enough votes from older voters by, amongst other things, touting a “tough on crime” and “law and order” platform to get elected. It doesn’t matter how many statistics I show my mother; she thinks that more prisons, longer sentences, and more police are good. Likewise I think a lot of older Koreans are hoping for the best to two worlds from Park: all the good things her father oversaw along with all the conveniences of life in a thriving democracy. Will they be disappointed? Probably, but she only needs to get elected once.

  • I think that it is unfair to compare it to Hitler, Stalin or even North Korea. As was pointed out by Ruaraidh, Many western political parties and campaigns use Photoshop to make rallies or candidates look better then what they actually were.

    • Raphael_kB

      I think the point is that these are some of the comparisons that are being made here in Korea. This is not the first time she or the Saenuri Party have been likened to North Korea: a totalitarian father and dynastic succession are to name but a few. And just last month when an artist was threatened with legal actions by the Saenuri Party for a satirical painting depicting Park giving birth to her own father, it caused yet more controversy [nb the painting was a critic of totalitarianism]. The party responded by saying it reminded them of the Nazi propaganda, which in turn backfired against them online

  • exink

    There’s no way of proving who did it, best thing to do is just ignore these kind of publicity photos and concentrate on policies.,

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