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Criminal code to replace security law

Oct 17,2004
After a long-running and heated debate over the fate of the National Security Law late last night, the governing Uri Party decided to abolish the law and revise the existing criminal code to complement that abolishment, instead of establishing a new law to replace the old one.
The treason portion of the criminal code will be revised to include organizations that illegally occupy territory for the purpose of an uprising or have an intent to undermine the nation’s constitutional order.
Uri lawmakers had been scheduled to settle on policy lines on four major reform bills at yesterday’s meeting. It finalized three issues ― revisions of laws on investigating Korea’s modern history, on media reform and on private schools. The matters were resolved relatively quickly, but the party became embroiled over what changes it wants to make in the decades-old anti-communist security statute.
While the lawmakers agreed that the law should be abolished, a group of Assemblymen including Representative Ahn Young-keun argued that a new law should be established to take the old one’s place. They defended the existence of a new security law by saying that the people are concerned and uneasy about completely scrapping the law.
Another group including Representative Woo Won-shik, however, argued that no new security law was needed. They said revising the existing criminal code would be sufficient.
While the Uri lawmakers were engaged in the debate, the opposition Grand National Party issued stern warnings that it would bar the votes at all costs, even if it means physical wrangling. “While the Grand Nationals are paying full attention to Assembly affairs, the governing party produced the four bills,” Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of the Grand National Party, said. “That is clearly an intention to distract the public’s attention.”
Representative Nam Kyong-pil, Grand National deputy floor leader, said, “the governing party probably knows better than to try and vote on the bills by physically battling 121 Grand National lawmakers.”
Earlier, Uri leaders predicted passage by the National Assembly before mid-November.
Uri lawmakers also decided they would move forward with media-related bills aimed at limiting the market share of daily newspapers to 30 percent. If the combined market share of any three newspapers is more than 60 percent, the publications will also be regarded as monopolies, the bills say. The party also plans to put 50-percent ceiling of total space on the amount of advertising that a newspaper can carry.
In a separate action, the party said it will submit a bill to define the scope of investigations of Korea’s modern history. To be included are sacrifices of civilians from 1945 until the Korean war, rights abuses by public authorities since the nation’s foundation in 1948 and other abuses that a fact-finding commission thinks necessary to probe. The bill, however, excluded collaborations with Japanese colonial government from the investigation scope.


by Shin Yong-ho, Ser Myo-ja


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