Thursday, February 9, 2006

Western professors defend Kang

I will get more into this later, but for now...

Western professors protest punishment of leftist Korean colleague

A group of Western professors protested to South Korea on Wednesday, urging reinstatement of a university faculty member sidelined over his pro-North Korea writings.

A letter, obtained by Yonhap, was endorsed by 33 professors from the United States, Norway and New Zealand and sent to Dongguk University and to South Korea's education minister, demanding that professor Kang Jeong-koo be allowed to continue teaching.

The group, calling itself the "Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea," also criticized South Korea's National Security Law that restricts unauthorized contact with North Korea and pro-North Korean activities.

Kang, a 59-year-old sociology professor, was indicted for violation of the National Security Law in December.

He insisted in his columns that the 1950-1953 Korean War, started by North Korea, was a "war of unification." In another column, he claimed that American Gen. Douglas MacArthur, whose successful amphibious landing in the South Korean port of Incheon turned the tide of the Korean War in favor of the South, was an enemy who caused the division of the Korean Peninsula.

Kang still retains his professorship but was barred from all teaching positions and stripped of research funds.

"As scholars involved in Korean issues, we are deeply concerned about the chilling effect this action will have on scholarly activity and the teaching climate at Korean institutions of higher learning," the letter said.

"Without full freedom to research, publish controversial articles, and voice controversial views, the university environment will become characterized by a suffocating uniformity," it said.

The professors also accused the South Korean government of using the National Security Law to "curtail the expression of free speech in Korean society."
"In this age of heightened inter-Korean cooperation, the NSL (National Security Law) is a Cold War anachronism," they wrote.

"It is the height of absurdity for North Korean books and materials to be available in South Korea, but for a South Korean professor to be criminalized for 'pro-North' opinions."

1 comment:

  1. I definitely hear you, Chucky. If he isn't to be fired, at least the one great thing about free speech is that his ideas, once they're out there, can be carefully scrutinized. I guess it might be better for someone like Kang to spew his nonsense publicly so that people can see his ideas (and those of his followers) for what they are, rather than having them cook and fester out of public view.

    Maybe it's good for the moderates in Korea to realize that a vote for Chung may be a vote for thoughts like this.


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