A media plan, activist’s murder, stolen treasure

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A media plan, activist’s murder, stolen treasure

Dec. 29, 1989
Censorship was familiar to journalists during the military regimes of the 1970s and 1980s. The iron-fisted dictatorships denied there was pressure on the press, but on this date critical evidence of such manipulation, the “K Maneuver Plan,” was brought to light by lawmaker Lee Cheol.
The plan, reportedly named for the English word “king,” was devised in early 1980, after Chun Doo Hwan seized power in a coup d’etat on Dec. 12, 1979. He wanted public approval before being inaugurated as president, and decided to use the power of the press.
This classified, 11-page document listed ways to manipulate 94 leading figures from seven major newspapers, five television networks and two wire services. Starting with private information on each individual, such as family and academic backgrounds, the document described the person’s viewpoints on politics in detail. The document made clear that the purpose of the plan was to “correct the misinformed public opinion on democratization through the media.”
Mr. Chun later said the plan was only devised to obtain cooperation from the press.

Dec. 30, 1945
The long-awaited independence from Japan’s colonial rule brought both joy and confusion to the peninsula on Aug. 15, 1945. The political community in particular was divided into many small factions of left and right, radical and moderate, pro-United States and pro-Soviet Union. Song Jin-u, a pro-American independence movement activist, was a victim of the political turmoil.
In the early morning on this date, a gang armed with pistols invaded Mr. Song’s house in Jongno, central Seoul. Hit by bullets in the face, heart and abdomen, Mr. Song died on the spot. He was 56 years old.
Though educated in Japan, Mr. Song opposed Japanese colonial rule as the head of the Dong-A Ilbo, one of the nation’s major newspapers. After independence, Mr. Song and other right-wingers formed the Korea Democratic Party, and joined forces with the pro-American Syngman Rhee. Mr. Song supported American trusteeship of the peninsula, and his death took place three days after the announcement of the Moscow Agreement, which decided American trusteeship of South Korea.
The assassins’ leader, Han Hyeon-u, said in 1993 that he had no regrets because Mr. Song was a traitor who tried to sell his country to the American trusteeship.

Jan. 1, 1968
Yu Geun-pil was a history buff who eked out a living as a connoisseur of antiques. On this date, however, Mr. Yu’s love of history went wrong. During the night, Mr. Yu sneaked into the Hyeonchungsa Temple in South Chungcheong province where the “Nanjung Ilgi” (Journals of War) of Yi Sun-shin, a general in the Joseon Dynasty, were kept.
General Yi’s hand-written journals are a national treasure, providing details of the war against Japan in 1592. Mr. Yu, who knew their value better than anyone, had gathered a group of friends. When the clock struck midnight for the new year, the gang broke into the temple and stole the journals.
About 10 days later, Mr. Yu was caught, thanks to the reports of citizens who heard him proudly bragging about the treasure.

by Chun Su-jin
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