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Discussing the politics of diversity and difference
  • Jeong Seung-In, reporter
  • 승인 2018.04.02 12:42
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▲Roh focused on explaining fairness and equality in politics

On Thursday, March 22, at the NH Humanities Hall in CWNU, a member of the National Assembly, Roh Hoe-chan gave a lecture on ‘Discussing Politics of Diversity and Difference.’ CWNU students and citizens welcomed him with warm applause when Roh appeared on stage. He began his lecture with questions such as, "Do you think politics feeds the citizens?" He answered 'yes' and began to talk about the importance of fairness and equality.

How the law applies differently to powerful people

Roh used the example of inequality in the case of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Group, to show that the equality of law wasn’t realized.Lee Kun-hee has(had?) more than 10 pending criminal charges, but avoided jail because of the massive power he possess in Korea. In comparison, an ordinary lower-level employee was used as an example against the Samsung group‘s chairman. The man, a husband who was a solo earner for his beloved sick wife, came into financial difficulty which led him to steal around 800,000 won. In his case, he was eventually found guilty. In contrast to Lee Kun-hee, who never went to jail, the ordinary Korean citizen who did not have any power was sent to prison for 10 months, leaving his sick wife alone. "When we compare two contrasting cases, the law is applied differently to those who have power and those who have no power.” Roh said in a pitying voice. He stressed once again that everyone should be equal under the law. Also, Roh strongly criticized the act of paying bribes in the political world, saying that fairness should be first and foremost, in order to correct the corrupted society.

Fraudulent employment

Roh mentioned Kangwon Land, which is a hot issue these days, as an example of fraudulent employment. Kangwon Land hired 226 people illegally. Although the controversial hires are now in the process of being dismissed, Roh questioned the audience at NH Hall whether it is morally right that only one of the seven members of the National Assembly who were behind the fraudulent employment was thoroughly investigated. In addition, he mentioned that after investigating the problem of fraudulent employment in public agencies in the country, 4,800 such cases were found. Roh highly insisted on fixing the corrupted and unfair situation of recruitment taking place these days.

Politics is deeply involved in our lives

The counselor said, "It is economics, then politics which influences the life of Korean people. However, in order for the economy to change, it is necessary to change politics first." He also added that exercising individual rights by voting could change politics. “It has been 70 years since the first constitution was made. Politics is directly and deeply involved in the lives of people,” Roh said as he has mentioned the bill for a constitutional amendment that the government announced recently.

On May 21, Moon Jae-in declared his intention to push for an amendment to the public concept of land ownership. In this new amendment, if a person has a large amount of land, both the owner and buyer have to pay a higher tax. "The land can be owned by an individual, but there is a public property aspect that should be kept in mind. There is nothing good for the increase in land price. School tuition and commodity prices will eventually rise as the price of real estate rises," he said, adding that it is unprofitable for the Korean community. “Our society has created new values that respect life and the environment compared to the past when we only focused on developing the economy. The Constitution needs to be amended to recognize the diversity of society and eliminate undue discrimination,” said Rho. He brought forward an opinion that it isn’t immediately feasible to change the Constitution considering the circumstances, but it is necessary to revise it in a timely manner. He also stressed the importance of people having more authority in the future, such as the voting age restriction in Korea.

Minimum wage issue

About worker’s pay, Roh said that considering the wages given by other countries, the minimum wage should be 10,000 won in Korea. But since the wages given to workers were very low for a long period of time, he predicted that it would be difficult to have such a sudden wage increase right away. “The sum of the wages of workers last year was 300 billion won. This money will be distributed again through the market, which will help the economy and factories to revitalize. That's why companies should raise wages for the workers and hire more people," he said in support of raising the minimum wage.

The lecture, which lasted about two hours with the theme of ‘Discussing Politics of Diversity and Difference,’ finished successfully with a warm round of applause and active communication with the audience and the floor leader.

Jeong Seung-In, reporter  samcandothat@naver.com

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