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Cho Jun-hyuk’s unfinished war

Updated July. 26, 2014 02:03

한국어

In 2010, then-Grand National Party member Cho Jun-hyuk forced the disclosure of a progressive teacher’s union members. Before that, the court had ruled against it. When the list was disclosed, his Web site got so many hits the server was paralyzed for a while. The court pressured him saying that if he continued the action, it would rule that he pay the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union (KTU) 29,000 dollars each day for damages. He continued with fervor, claiming he was prepared to go bankrupt. Yet due to the power of the hefty fine, his “rebellion” ended in four days.

He was sued for damages from 84,000 members of the teacher’s union and lost, and his assets were seized. During his term as National Assembly member, all of his money from his National Assembly position was seized, and during his time as professor of Myongji University, half of his salary was taken, making his life financially pinched. He said he may have lost the legal battle but that he did not regret what he had done as he said it was to ensure the parents and students their rights to know. During his legal battle, he wrote on Facebook, “If Your Honor the judge had children who were taken to a memorial service for North Korean guerillas left behind after the Korean War under the banner of education by a union member, what would you do, your Honor?”

The Supreme Court made its final ruling, of his defeat on Thursday. Cho accepted it and quit his position as Myongji University professor without hesitation. When asked why he had resigned, he replied that he was taking ethical responsibility for getting a final ruling as a member of the Republic of Korea’s intellectual. It is in sharp contrast to four years ago, when he refused to accept the court ruling. He targeted the teacher’s union saying it only used the law and that it needed to adhere to the law. He criticized the union for not accepting the court ruling that the teachers` union is not a legitimate labor group because it allows membership of fired teachers.

Although he ran for educational superintendent for Gyeonggi province in June, came in second with 1.19 million votes. The union has already seized some 1.07 million dollars of the some 3.7 million dollars used for campaigning which he will be partially refunded for. He plans to meet his acquaintances who lent him the money to run and discuss measures on Sunday. He said that now that he has retired from being professor, he would live on money from giving lectures, writing columns for media, and appearing on broadcast shows. Will the warrior Cho Jun-hyuk who lost his battle with the teacher’s union win the war for the future of Korean education?