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True face of progressive party`s faction
MAY 10, 2012 06:15  
The Ilsimhoe incident is a 2006 spy case in which senior members of South Korea`s Democratic Labor Party leaked state secrets and information about the party뭩 internal situation to North Korea under Pyongyang뭩 directive. The Supreme Court of South Korea upheld lower court rulings that found the defendants guilty. But the National Liberation faction, which followed the North뭩 ideology of "juche (self-reliance" and had hegemony in the party, called the case a 밼abrication aimed at creating a social atmosphere against pro-North Korea groups and slandering the party. At an interim party convention of the party on Feb. 3, 2008, Kim Seung-gyo, a party delegate and attorney for the Ilsimhoe defendants, claimed that the party should not cave in to the 뱓rashy (trial) documents that were made on the basis of an evil law named the National Security Law. After nine hours of debates, a proposal to expel the convicted spies was discarded.

Back then, the faction argued that a rival faction뭩 call for ending the pro-North stance was a 뱈edieval-style witch hunt. Many Internet users criticized the National Liberation faction for behaving like disciples of a pseudo religion, saying they had learned the true identity of the faction. They also said the faction did not hesitate to violate common sense, political ethics, the party뭩 constitution and regulation and even election law. In the end, the labor party was split.

On Tuesday, Lee Jung-hee, former chairwoman of the Democratic Labor Party and now co-chairwoman of the minor opposition United Progressive Party, showed a similar attitude at a public hearing for verification of a party report on the results of an investigation into alleged illegal voting in party primaries for electing candidates for last month`s general elections. Lee chaired a meeting of the party뭩 national steering committee for 33 hours. For 90 minutes at the meeting, she gave a lengthy speech without taking questions, calling the probe a 뱈edieval-style witchhunt. When Lee finished speaking, members of the National Liberation faction such as lawmaker-elect Kim Jae-yeon under the proportional representation system and Rep. Kim Sun-dong, were moved to tears in giving her a standing ovation.

The refusal by Lee and two of the faction뭩 lawmakers-elect to acknowledge their responsibility for the election scandal is far from common sense and ethics of the general public. Their attitude indicates that the faction considers the law and even the Constitution less worthy than their ideology. Lee Seok-gi, who is considered one of the most influential member of the faction, served 30 months in prison from 2002 for his leading role in the National Liberation People`s Democracy Revolution Party, an underground group that followed North Korea. Certain members of the rival faction say National Liberation faction members from the underground party apparently retain their way of thinking developed while participating in their underground movement.

Behind Lee Jung-hee뭩 innocent look seems to lie the National Liberation faction뭩 disregard of South Korea뭩 fundamental law and order and a blind faith in their purpose. With the true face of the pseudo religion-like faction shown, the progressive party`s approval rating has been more than halved after hitting 10.3 percent in the general elections. The rest of the party must now decide whether to turn a blind eye to such disregard for law and outrageousness.

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