As the citizens of the Republic of South Korea protest for President Park Geun-hye to resign, the UW Korean Students Association joined in on the protest.
Since her election in 2013, Park’s government has been involved in deceiving the public, such as having state-controlled history textbooks, and censoring those who spoke out against the government. After the Sewol Ferry tragedy April 16, in which a ferry capsized and over 300 people died due to inadequate boating standards set by the government, and an equally inadequate response from the national guard, families of the victims protested for compensation on their deaths. During Park’s visit to Ottawa, Koreans there protested for Park to pass a law concerning the incident.
When it was discovered that Park gave Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of hers, the ability to influence government, citizens of the Republic of Korea began speaking up against Park’s government.
“Some courageous presses, through some root they got a tablet formally used by Choi Soon-sil and they looked into the tablet. They found some national secretive information in the tablet and they found out that most of the speech and other things the President Park talked about, she edited it and sent it back to her,” JungIn Kim said. “A lot of them included some information that normal civilians can’t know about … and people are not allowed to look at it or to edited it and tell the President what to do, but that was what she was doing.”
Over 260,000 citizens have been protesting in the streets of Seoul, South Korea since Oct. 29 for Park to step down.
As the protests happened in South Korea, University of Waterloo Korean students Minyoung Yoo, JungIn Kim, YeounJun Park, Hyungwon Cha, Heeyeon Yoo, Alexandria Won, Jeyoung Oh, Jiwon Lee, Na Rae Kim, and others came together Nov. 11 to film their public denunciation of President Park and her government.
“Even though some of us are Canadian, some of us are international students, we thought we have to speak up our voices as well because even though we live in Canada, it doesn’t mean we get to avoid what happens in our national country,” Kim said. “We’ve seen how some students in Harvard also spoke up, students in UC Berkeley … some of the U.S. schools, the Korean students gathered for denunciation, but none of the schools in Canada did it so we thought we should do it first.”
They called out Park’s government for corruption and disgracing the democratic spirit. They called for an open investigation into the Park-Gate scandal and a proper investigation into the Sewol Ferry incident, as well as the resignation of Park.
“As the lies and deception of the shadow cabinet are revealed by courageous presses, we, as a part of all 50 million Koreans, [are] eager for the day when all truths are revealed,” JungIn Kim protested in the SLC courtyard. “Every hidden action of Park’s government must be thoroughly investigated. Deception in state-controlled textbooks, the disaster of Sewol Ferry, and the late Nam-ki Baek who died after being hit by a water cannon operated by the police, are a few examples.”
This article has been updated to include quotes from members of the UW Korean Students Association.