‘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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  • Obaiki


    • Matt

      What a remarkable achievement. You’ve finally accomplished something in your life.

      P.S. – This isn’t ChinaSmack. The “sofa” concept has no meaning here. At least say “소바” or something.

  • Matt

    I’ve always found it strange by how similarly the South Korean domestic political scene mirrors that of the US. It’s like a doppelgänger, except with less fat people and more ethnic homogeneity.

    • Stories of butts

      Politics is politics, Matt. Youre bound to find each of them to be similar at some point.

    • Alexei

      With all due respect, I think that is an unfair and inaccurate comparison, for several reasons.
      1)The US has not been directly invaded and occupied by a communist state; Washington, D.C. is not located in artillery firing range of a hostile army. During the Cold War, Americans were certainly afraid of communism, but they never faced an existential threat in the way South Korea did.
      2)When Rush Limbaugh and his ilk accuse American politicians of being “communist”, they are just using exaggerated political rhetoric. No elected official in the US has seriously advocated communism in decades, let alone endorsed a state with which the US is at war.
      The same is not true in South Korea, where Lim Su-kyung and Choi Jae-sung can publicly insult defectors and still be in office, where the UPP can refuse to sing the National Anthem, where despite the “draconian” National Security Law, it has become publicly acceptable to give de facto support to the dictatorship in North Korea.

      Mccarthyism in the US was groundless fear mongering. There were no communists in the US state department as McCarthy accused. but as Lim Su-kyung’s hateful comments attest, there *are* pro-North members of the National Assembly. no one is trying to “blacklist” these lawmakers or ruin their careers, people are just saying “If you are going to insult 23,500 refugees, if you are can’t even stand the national anthem, then maybe the National Assembly is not the best job for you.”

  • lonetrey

    McCarthyism. Tch.

    They should do the same to the Neo-McCarthyists and censure them like Joseph McCarthy back in the 1950s.

  • dim mak

    Pteh, more liberals.

    The Chinese empire will help you smash the Norks in exchange for half their land. What say you Koreafriends?

    • MIch’insaeki

      Just don’t give two shits. If Korea held a referendum tomorrow and all South Koreans voted to declare South Korea the newest and bestest Southern Province of the Glorious Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea under the benevolent and genius leadership of the Uberbrain Leader Kim Jongun… I couldn’t care less.

      Buhbye. Have fun with it.

      It’s funny you mentioned China… not a lot of people realized this, but it’s basically China that’s keeping NorK on life support. Everything from the military, economy, energy, food, North Korea depends on China for its basic existence. If China wanted to pull the plug on the NorK experiment in human debasement the whole NorK fantasy would end in 2 months. Juche that bitches. So what South Korea basically has is a complete failure of China-engagement. I personally couldn’t be happier if South Korea were to stop being American toadies and ante up, but I jus don’t see it happening. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

      • Chucky3176

        If you wouldn’t care what happens in Korea, what are you doing here in this forum?

        • lonetrey

          He seeks to sting people’s hearts by posting his spiteful post. To humble and humiliate the overall results of arrogant countries.

          Not that we can say he’s incorrect. Maybe MIch’insaeki is right.

          • Mich’insaeki

            Koreans. LMFAO. Oh my sides…. so glad I don’t have to deal with Korean anymore. For the last 50 years screaming Yankee Go Home and No Yankee Rice, No Yankee Beef, No Yankee Cigarettes No Yankee Whateverthefuck and No Yankee Meddling and Butt Out of Our Politics… and now you’ve finally convinced a bunch of Yankees you’re absolutely right, we should just butt out and walk away and I give you two big fat thumbs up and say go for broke, go Commie-ass Flaming Red for all I care and still nothing but grief.

            LMFAO. Koreans.

        • Mich’insaeki

          I bore easily, what’s your excuse?

          • ges595550

            remove yourself from the gene pool, fuckwit.

          • Mich’insaeki

            @ ges595550

            Omg, I can jus feeeeel the luv in this room. Lemme see…. left index finger bangs 5… right index finger bangs a 9… then left bangs 555… and then one last bang from the right index finger for the 0 and the hasty lil random name, WOE… anger issues… LMAO…. cause now we get sexy and vulgar and personal we not posting under our regular cuty name. LMAO. You people are hilarious.

          • James

            @both of you:

            We tend to tolerate some comments, largely because it would be hypocritical of us to allow racist comments from Korean netizens but censor ones from our own. The only time we really moderate is when we feel someone is being stupid.

            So, having said that, if none of you are able to discuss some basic points without resorting to crude, racist or disrespectful language, I’ll assume you’re being stupid.

            Please sort yourselves out.

          • Mich’insaeki


            You have a contributor who posts with the image of Tojo with wanton opprobrium. That image zips up and down and along page columns completely unchallenged as if its somehow ‘funny’. The day you pull over Tojo and wag your little finger at him you can feel free to come and lecture me on what is cruuuuude, or ‘disrespectful’ or ‘stupid’.

            Until then, I’ll take your little attempt at rebuke precisely as that which you claim it purports not to be: simple hypocrisy.

          • James


            We’ve warned Chucky multiple times in the past too, I’m not singling you out – please just do your best to tone the language down. Thanks.

          • Mich’insaeki


            Fair enough. I can do that for you. You guyz have a good project going here. You put a lot of work into it. I respect that. I’m not gonna foul the waters.

          • James

            Thanks Mich’insaeki – much appreciated. And thanks for your positive feedback!

          • chucky3176

            All I asked was why post here if you don’t care (and he answered because he was doing out of spite).

            Now that’s enough for a warning??

          • James

            @Chucky, I was talking to Mich’insaeki and ges59550. I’m not warning you for anything you’ve said on this article. I also appreciate how much more measured you are in your tone these days, so thank you.

  • tim

    Just another round of political squabbling over nothing, followed by an ignorant public. When the parliament seriously discusses why had its members visited specific museum or monument, it shows that something is wrong with it.

    Also, they call them commies, while in fact those contacting with the North are most likely nationalists, pursuing unification and broadening of contacts. The ruling party, of course, believes that hostility towards the North is the best.

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