By Youngsu Won
March 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The abrupt mass outbreak of COVID-19 has shocked most of South Korea - with the exception of a small millennial sect.
By March 1, the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 had risen to more than 3700, including 20 confirmed deaths, representing a huge rise compared with the less than 100 cases just two weeks before.
More than 60% of those infected are members of a religious sect: the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Shincheonji means New Heaven and Earth in Korean and implies a millennial Christian utopia. Its leader, Lee Man-hee, controls this monolithic organism from top to bottom.
By Youngsu Won August 1, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The historical candlelight movement of 2016-17 finally turned South Korea from one of the most reactionary anti-communist regimes into a normal democracy. However, the recent debate over Yemenis refugees revealed the naked face of deep-seated racism of many Koreans.
By Youngsu Won February 6, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This winter has been extremely cold in South Korea, with temperatures regularly reaching well below -10oC – perhaps another sign of climate change. One of the coldest places has been Pyeongchang, a small town in Gangwon Province, which is just below the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and is set to host the Winter Olympics between February 9 to 25.
By Youngsu WonNovember 29, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — Will a verbal war between a senile dotard and a little rocket man result in an actual war? Probably not, but at the very moment, the risk is unprecedented, the highest without question. The reason? Simply because the consequent of any action will be beyond imagination, and extremely catastrophic in every sense of the word. This is the only imaginable deterrent of any possible war, unfortunately.
Corea del Sur: Victoria del movimiento de las velas, destitución de la presidenta Park y convocatoria de elecciones
Por Youngsu Won
Marzo 22, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso— El 10 de marzo, a las 11:22 de la mañana, el juez del Tribunal Constitucional Lee Jeingmi leyó la última frase de la sentencia, que declara que el tribunal había decidido por unanimidad, destituir a la Presidenta Park Geun-hye. Después de un juicio de 92 días, la presidencia de Park Geun-hye había terminado.
The candlelight protests that refuse to go out: Understanding the significance of South Korea’s latest protest wave
By Youngsu Won January 5, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The last day of 2016 witnessed another historic moment in South Korean history: once again, a huge mobilization involving 1 million people took place, taking the total number of people mobilized in 10 successive national days of candlelight action to over 10 million. These historical mobilizations of people power have had a tremendous impact on every sphere of South Korean society and politics.
By Youngsu Won December 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On December 10, downtown Seoul was lit up by candles once again. One million people turned out for candle light rallies across the country, a day after President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. In Seoul, a huge crowd of eight hundred thousand people gathered at Gwanghwamoon Square and marched toward the Blue House (presidential palace). A wave of historically unprecedented mobilisations by South Korean indignados forced parliament to impeach the incompetent and corrupt president. It was a significant victory for peoples power. However, in the wake of this historical triumph, the popular struggle is heading into uncertain terrains.
By Youngsu Won December 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On December 9, Parliament voted in favor of a presidential impeachment by 234 votes to 56, with 7 invalid votes and 2 abstentions. Over 30,000 protesters were present to celebrate the impeachment. The votes in favor of impeachment exceeded what was expected, though it was slightly lower than the 81% support for impeachment among public opinion.
[For more background on South Korea's çivic revolution, read Youngsu Won's previous article here.] By Youngsu Won December 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — December 3 saw another mega-protest hit President Park Geun-hye’s regime, with more than 2.32 million angry South Koreans participating in the 6th national candlelight protest called in recent weeks. Concerns of a lower turn out were swept aside, with the turnout surpassing the recently set record of 2 million people for the largest mobilisation in the country's history. Protesters demanded Park’s immediate and unconditional resignation. The massive outpour of anger has put back in motion an impeachment process that Park had hoped to derail.