A suspicious scholarshipIn a new barrage of allegations against nominee for justice minister Cho Kuk, it has been revealed that his daughter received 12 million won ($9,917) in scholarships while attending the Pusan National University Graduate School of Medicine. The scholarship was established by Roh Hwan-jung, head of Busan Medical Center, who was teaching at the university medical school. Seven people have received the scholarship since it was launched in 2013. Of the recipients, Cho’s daughter was the only to have received 2 million for six consecutive semesters. The others received 1 million won or 1.5 million won just once.
Cho’s daughter flunked the first semester, but nevertheless was granted the scholarship the following year. Her family situation hardly called for such benefits. Cho is reportedly worth 5.6 billion won. The family fortune is much greater when real estate holdings are appraised at market value. Cho invested 50 million won in a private equity fund in his daughter’s name. Neither her grades nor financial condition explain the extraordinary benefit.
Roh, then her professor, said he approved of the scholarship to encourage her after she flunked. But again, why was she the only one granted the scholarship when there were others who had also flunked the first year?
Cho claimed he was not aware of how his daughter received scholarship. A father usually would inquire why his daughter was granted a scholarship despite receiving mediocre grades. Elites like Cho should have known better. Moreover, he is an eager champion of justice.
The mass protests against corruption at the Blue House were triggered by the revelation that the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of former President Park Geun-hye, received preferential treatment in entering and studying at Ewha Womans’ University. The people became outraged by the daughter’s social media posts that said, “Blame your parents if you do not have the abilities.” At the time, Cho attacked the Park administration for its high-handedness.
The Moon Jae-in administration takes pride in the fact that it was elected through a civilian movement that ousted the former corrupt president. Its slogan has been fairness, justice and righteousness. Ruling party lawmakers come to defense of Cho, claiming that he did nothing wrong — legally. Are they the same people who wanted to create a society free of prerogatives and foul play?
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 20, Page 34