After Park’s media interview, an outpouring of anger on social media

Posted on : 2017-01-27 14:18 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Before Lunar New Year holiday, candlelight and far-right groups hold duelling demonstrations at Seoul Station
Members of the Emergency Committee for Park Geun-hye’s Immediate Resignation hold a press conference at Seoul Station ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday
Members of the Emergency Committee for Park Geun-hye’s Immediate Resignation hold a press conference at Seoul Station ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday

There has been an outpouring of anger on social media after Park Geun-hye used a conspiracy theory to explain her impeachment trial during an interview with an Internet program with a conservative pundit released on Jan. 25. During the interview, Park said she had “the feeling that [the Choi Sun-sil scandal] had been in the works for a long time.”

Chun Woo-yong, a historian, got on Twitter the same day to excoriate Park for her remark during her interview that “the Choi Sun-sil scandal is a huge mountain of lies.” “The huge mountain of lies is Park Geun-hye’s life; the people living in houses built on that mountain are her associates; and the pile of trash produced by those houses are the groups loyal to Park,” Chun wrote.

Han In-seop, a professor at Seoul National University’s law school, posted on his Facebook page a screenshot from Park’s interview with a caption that read, “I heard the rallies supporting me drew crowds twice as big as the candlelight rallies.” “If that’s the kind of briefing Park was been getting, there’s no way she could have gotten anything right about running this country. She’s sick!” Han wrote.

“In the morning [of Jan. 25], Choi Sun-sil badmouthed the Special Prosecutor, and in the evening Park Geun-hye insulted the candlelight rallies. The two reconfirmed that they belong to the same ‘mental community,’” wrote Cho Guk, a professor at Seoul National University.

People who watched the interview found themselves in shock. “I was surprised by the fact that Park still doesn’t understand what she did wrong and by her tendency to blame others when she’s the one to blame. From the beginning, she was unfit to be president, and she has been a catastrophe for Koreans,” said Ryu Dae-yeong, 31, who lives in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province.

“Park would have us believe that the ‘South Korean flag rallies’ [by right-wing and pro-Park groups] were twice as big as the candlelight rallies. She appears to be the only one who doesn’t understand why Koreans gave up their weekends to carry candles in the cold weather. It was shocking to see that she apparently thinks that only her supporters are the South Korean people and that everyone else are her enemies,” said Park Chun-bong, 55, who lives in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province.

“Given that Park Geun-hye has never provided a convincing explanation for the numerous allegations about her actions during the first seven hours after the Sewol sinking, she has no right to blather on about the ‘national reputation.’ If she wants to plead her innocence, she should stop hiding behind certain media organizations to spread baseless arguments and should have the courage to testify in the investigation by the Special Prosecutor or in a hearing at the Constitutional Court,” People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said in a statement.

The Choi Sun-sil scandal has also transformed the atmosphere at Seoul Station, which is packed with people traveling to visit their families for the Lunar New Year holiday. Simultaneous demonstrations were held at the station on Jan. 26 by civic groups calling for Park’s resignation and far-right groups opposed to her impeachment. At 9 o’clock that morning, the Emergency Committee for Park Geun-hye’s Immediate Resignation (the group that has been organizing the candlelight rallies) handed out leaflets urging the arrest of President Park, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and former Blue House Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs Woo Byung-woo. “During the Lunar New Year, let’s get together with our families and talk about the dream of the candlelight rallies and how we would like the Republic of Korea to change. In February, after the Lunar New Year is over, Park’s impeachment must take place,” the pamphlets said.

At the same time, the Headquarters of the National Movement to Overturn the President’s Impeachment, an alliance of far-right organizations opposed to the impeachment, was carrying out its own public relations offensive. Protesters held up huge banners that said “Reveal the truth about the tablet PC that was the first stage of the influence-peddling scandal” and “The media, the prosecutors, pro-North Korean forces, leftists and opportunists are currently carrying out an uprising in the Republic of Korea.” The headline on the first page of the far-right No Cut Ilbe newspaper that they independently produced said, “The candles will blow out when the wind of the South Korean flag blows.”

By Park Soo-jin and Heo Seung, staff reporters

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