Moon must leave politicsOlympic gold medalist Moon Dae-sung quit the ruling Saenuri Party after Kookmin University announced that a lot of his doctoral thesis was plagiarized. Moon, a gold medalist in Taekwondo at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and an International Olympics Committee member, was elected in Busan in the April 11 election as the ruling party candidate despite plagiarism allegations. He denied the charges and refused to leave the party.
Moon has been in hot water throughout the campaign for plagiarizing his doctoral thesis. His case was serious because of the audacious nature of “copy-and-paste” plagiarism. Some of the paragraphs even replicated typos in the original thesis. Some people suspected his thesis was entirely written by someone else.
But we wanted to wait for an authoritative opinion by his university, and now we know the truth.
Moon has demonstrated a lack of ethics and conscience. He lied when he said he had not plagiarized anyone’s work. Then he justified himself by saying that as an athlete he should be pardoned. He canceled a press conference to announce his plan to quit the party at the last minute. From plagiarism to lying and disrespecting the people and voters who elected him, he presented himself unworthy of any public office or support.
In the statement, Moon said he decided to leave the party in order not to ruin its new start and the race for the presidency in December. It was as if he was addressing his apology to the party alone.
Moon may be thinking he has paid his dues by dropping out of the ruling party. But a person of such low morality and sensitivity is not qualified to represent the people in the legislature. If he has any conscience left, he should quit the assembly and leave politics.
The Saenuri Party also should be accountable. Its onus does not end by splitting with Moon, despite the fact that it loses its majority in the assembly. The party nominated Moon despite plagiarism allegations and stood by him throughout the campaign. It turned a deaf ear to testimonies to Moon’s unethical past. The party must apologize for betraying the voters’ trust in the party and its candidate.
Plagiarism is rampant in our society. But the act of stealing someone else’s work is a serious moral offense. Other elected lawmakers facing similar charges should come clean. The 19th legislative is off to a poor start if it loses public credibility from the very beginning.