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Rightist blames progressives for soiling uprising

Dec 15,2006
The spirit of the April 19, 1960, popular uprising for liberal democracy has been tainted by the nation’s so-called “progressive” politicians and neglected during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, a conservative sociologist said yesterday at a seminar on the modern history of the nation.
“The so-called progressive power has distorted the spirit of the April 19 revolution and brought about a crisis in the post-democratization era of the country,” Jun Sang-in, a sociology professor at Seoul National University, said at the conference.
Mr. Jun said the Roh administration came to power as a result of efforts led by leftists from the late 1980s to change the nation’s political system. “The governing power of the nation seeks populist democracy, not liberal democracy, and the Korean society is currently experiencing nonliberal democracy after democratization,” Mr. Jun argued.
He and other members of TextForum, a group established last year under the New Right Union aiming to rewrite the nation’s “left-leaning” history textbooks, attended an academic seminar in Seoul with 300 members of civic groups and associations commemorating the April 19, 1960, revolution. The two sides had once come to blows over a draft of a history textbook by the conservative group. They reconciled Thursday.
Instead of using the terms used in TextForum’s initial draft of the textbook, which defined the uprising as a “student movement” and the May 16, 1961, military coup as a “revolution,” Mr. Jun called the 1960 event a “democratic revolution” and the 1961 event a “military coup.”
Lee Dae-woo, a professor of ethics studies at Pusan National University, represented the organizations commemorating the 1960 revolution. “Downplaying the April 19 revolution as a mere student movement is a betrayal to the nation,” he said in his presentation.


by Han Ae-ran


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