‘Neo-McCarthyism’ Engulfing Korean Politics, Netizen Reactions

Alleged pro-North lawmakers Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon are under pressure to resign

Alleged pro-North lawmakers Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon are under pressure to resign

As Korea continues to be engulfed in the political dispute over lawmakers of pro-North Korean sentiment, the debate reached a climax this week as the United Progressive Party decided to oust two lawmakers found to have been illegally elected in the last parliamentary elections through vote rigging, through both are still trying to cling to their seats.

This political kerfuffle even led President Lee to announce at a Memorial Day event that those of pro North Korean stance will not be tolerated, as previously covered by koreaBANG. The so-called ideological witch-hunt to expulse North Korean sympathizers (‘jongpuks‘) has caused the new chair of the Democratic United Party to accuse the ruling Saenuri Party of ‘neo-McCarthyism’, leaving netizens divided over the jongpuk vs. neo-McCarthyism debate.

From Daum:

Ruling party cries out ‘Jongpuks‘, ‘Steadfast against Neo-McCarthyism’ says the opposition

Lee Hae-chan and Hwang Woo-yeo

Even before the opening of the 19th National Assembly, the conservative offensive on the charge of jongpuk [pro-North Korean stance] ideology against the opposition is continuing relentlessly. The Saenuri Party hopes to capitalize on this opportunity by passing the controversial North Korean Human Rights legislation. Hwang Woo-yeo (right), the leader of Saenuri, strongly criticized Lim Soo-kyung, responsible for the controversial tongue-lashing against the North Korean defector and Lee Hae-chan (left, former prime minister recently elected new chairman of the Democratic United Party) who blocked the North Korean Human Rights bill.

Hwang referred to the ‘the most important value embedded in the Constitution is upholding the human rights of the citizen and safeguarding of liberal democratic order,’ and worried aloud ‘whether the Democratic United Party (DUP) could be expected to defend those constitutional values.’ Hwang added the time has come to ‘draw the fundamental line between those on the side of liberal democratic order and those against it.’ Saenuri spokesperson Kim Young-woo released the statement criticizing Lee Hae-chan who rejected the bill on the ground that it was something of a ‘diplomatic discourtesy to meddle with the domestic issue of another country,’ and demanded that the DUP reprimand the two.

The mounting pressure against the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) remained unabated, which was recently mired in the electoral fraud case. The expulsion and blocking of the members of the National Assembly (MNA) with the proven track-record of pro-North Korean sympathy from joining the Assembly committees in charge of highly sensitive national security issues was also raised. Ex-top brass members of Saenuri also held a press conference the same day expressing their unequivocal condemndation against the members of the UPP, demanding their revocation of the National Assembly membership.

The recent wave of jongpuk charges was largely instigated by the progressive side. The electoral fraud by the UPP remains unresolved for over a month and the party is in complete disarray. Lim Soo-kyung is also being widely criticized for her drunken behavior, especially her overbearing comment by both the left and right. But there is a growing voice that challenges this ‘ideological litmus test’ and wholesale anachronistic vilification of the MNAs, after all, elected by the national electorate. Any sanction against the MNA for pro-North Korean sympathy is not only extra-constitutional but a blatant misuse of statutes that could set a hazardous precedence for future exploitation.

Further this conservative ideological offensive may restrict the freedom of thoughts and expression and lead to highly obstructive political environment before the presidential election at the end of this year. The opposition has steadfastly called out the charges of ideological blackmailing on this ground. Lee Hae-chan countered the accusation against him in the press conference, saying ‘this is the same old politics of ideological blackmailing and [Saenuri] trying to goad the public opinion.’

Lee recalled in 2nd, June 2010 the Lee administration created ‘the atmosphere of imminent war’ which failed to prevail against the wisdom of Seoul residents.’ Lee added that he will do ‘whatever it takes to oppose this neo-McCarthyism being spread by the Lee Myung-bak government. Park Yong-jin, the spokesperson for the DUP, countered the recent charges by asking ‘why Park Geun-hye visited Mankyongdae and Juche Tower during her visit to North Korea,’ and urged that she must answer ‘whether she upholds the constitution or coup d’etat.’ Mr. Park added that on the same line of questioning out to be applied to Park Geun-hye for her ‘questionable background.’

Mr. Park further alleged that Hwang Woo-yeo, the leader of Saenuri, also ought to be subject to the same ideological interrogation for his visit to the birth house of Kim Il-sung in 2006 and turned the table around by calling into question the framework of ideological litmus test raised by Saenuri should be applied equally to Saenuri MNAs. He concluded with his wish to see the debate moving on to more pressing ‘economic and welfare policy issues rather than ideological one.’

Comments from Daum:


Human rights issues should not be used for political ends, but since it has been brought up, how can we sit idly by and not say anything! Isn’t it just plain silly to argue that human rights issues are a domestic issue? It’s inhuman to just watch helpless victims being pummeled!


The DUP ought to be held responsible for planting commies in the National Assembly.


Our MNAs piss me off so much – all they do is engage in gang fight day and night. It is time to reduce them by half or remove the immunity clause, that ought to shut them up…. It makes me sad to see a former Prime Minister defending a commie lover.


Jongpuks piss me off but I will not vote for Park Geun-hye.


Let’s have a referendum, [on] this North Korean human rights legislation. I don’t want to see people just yapping about unification but only being servants and parasites to North Korean dictatorial power.


Liberal democracy you say… Liberalism and democracy are both good, but those in power abuse them for maintaining their power. And socialism is not same as communism. If that was the case, are the Labour Party in Englandthe Socialist Party in France and the SDP in Germany all commies too?


Jongpuk is a problem but I am also sick and tired of North Korean fear-mongering. Who benefits the most from this North Korean fear if not Saenuri? The DUP really ought to sort out the North Korean elements and stop regurgitating this same-old trick.


Saenuri cannot exist without North Korea! You bastards, traitors!!


I am soooo tired of this jongpuk commies business. If they break the law, arrest them and shut up about it. A government with massive corruption problems is an even bigger issue. I think they are just harping this issue in public to brush the dirt under the carpet.


Should we side with a Japan that wants to steal Dokdo?… or choose our same blood in North Korea… There is no jongpuk, only one people.


You dog jongpuk scums~~~!!! Go to North Korea, why are you here in South Korea~~?


If the followers of Lee Myung-bak were the market-talibans, the Park Geun-hye followers are the ideological talibans. Ah, Kim Moon-soo is both…. This already feels like the oppressive marshal public security days. If Park Geun-hye comes into power, it will be as bad as the 3rd or 5th republic. People who love Park Chung-hee really ought to experience that.


Please just wake up. If you love North Korea, move to North Korea, you fucking trash.. Go starve yourself…..


Park Geun-hye visited North Korea without any approval and met up with Kim Jong-il and even visited Juche Tower. She’s the true commie.


Now I know for certain that the DUP is a jongpuk organization. Lee Hae-chan, Lim Soo-kyung, Park Ji-won…… I don’t care how corrupt and incompetent Saenuri is, I will not let the DUP in power!

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