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Lee’s pick for education secretary confesses to plagiarizing himself

June 24,2008
Only three days after the Blue House’s ambitious reshuffle of the secretariat, the newly named senior secretary for education has asked President Lee Myung-bak to withhold his appointment as an academic scandal broke out over his publications, the presidential office said yesterday.

Dong-A Ilbo and other media reports yesterday morning alleged that Cheong Jean-gon had committed self-plagiarism. The 58-year-old professor of education at Hanyang University was named presidential senior secretary for education, science and culture on Friday when the Blue House reshuffled almost all members of the secretariat.

According to media reports, Chung wrote a 13-page paper in December 1996. He allegedly added another 10 pages to the paper and published it a year later with Hanyang University’s education research institute and received 2 million won ($1,943.63) in research funds.

He is also accused of reusing 12 pages from a 22-page paper that he published in December 2001 in two separate papers, published in 2002.

Responding to media reports, Cheong admitted that he failed to accurately cite his own papers as sources, but that academia had no strict restrictions on multiple publications at the time, so he did not deeply think about the practice.

In a press briefing yesterday, presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said Cheong had asked the president to delay his appointment.

“It is not a typical case of plagiarism, and Cheong does not think it was an embarrassment for his academic conscientiousness,” spokesman Lee said. “Still, Cheong said he felt sorry for causing this trouble.

“If the newly formed presidential secretariat appears to be faulty, it could damage the president,” Lee said. “Therefore, Cheong has asked the president to hold off on his appointment until academia makes a fair judgment about this allegation.”

While the rest of the new presidential aides received official appointments yesterday, Cheong did not attend the ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Blue House said yesterday that Park Hyeong-joon, a former JoongAng Ilbo reporter and a former Grand National Party lawmaker, was appointed to the newly created post of senior secretary for public affairs and planning. The JoongAng Ilbo is JoongAng Daily’s sister company.

Park will be in charge of helping the president shape his personal image, prepare his speeches and gather public opinion from the Internet.

Park, who is currently a sociology professor at Dong-A University, served in Lee’s GNP primary campaign. Park also worked as a GNP spokesman and on Lee’s presidential transition team.

Meanwhile, Choo Boo-kil, a public affairs secretary under the senior secretary for political affairs, resigned last week, the Blue House said. Choo faced criticism for calling the anti-U.S. beef import protesters a “satanic group.”


By Ser Myo-ja Staff Reporter [myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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