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Message-ID: <199711211119120510.006397C3@mail.gn.apc.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 11:19:12 +0000
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: LabourNet <chrisbailey@GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Korean state attempts to stop KCTU election candidate

Korean state attempts to stop KCTU election candidate

LabourNet Report by Chris Bailey, 21 November 1997

The South Korean state is attempting to declare the election campaign of People’s Victory 21 illegal. People’s Victory 21, formed from an alliance of the 550,000 member Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the 50,000 strong National Alliance for Democracy and Reunification of Korea (NADRK), is standing KCTU President Kwon Young-Kil as a candidate in the South Korean Presidential elections. The election campaign has already been subject to widespread intimidation by state forces and is blacked out in the Korean press.

On 15th November a state document declared it would inflict strict punishment of illegal election campaign by groups including NADRK and KCTU. On 17th November four persons from the KCTU and NADRK, including Lee Changbok, President of NADRK were issued with a written summons accusing them of violation of the electoral law.

A major plank of the People’s Victory 21 campaign concerns the large scale corruption that exists in South Korean political life. Politicians who have been shown to have received large sums of money from the giant monopolies that dominate Korean life remain at large whilst the state is used to prosecute those who seek to expose this corruption.

The KCTU is seeking to publicise its situation as widely as possible internationally. The South Korean government is attempting to cultivate the appearance of democracy and is sensitive to international pressure. The KCTU invited a number of international guests to participate in a mass rally in Seoul on 8th November to launch its election campaign. These included labour movement activists in alternative media including the Internet. The KCTU hopes to use these alternative avenues to bypass the censored Korean press and to get its message out to the world. Such methods were used very effectively in last years Korean General Strike led by the KCTU.

Labour around the world should protest in the strongest possible terms at the latest attempts of the Korean state to suppress the democratic right of the Korean labour movement to stand a candidate in the Korean Presidential election.

Protest messages should be lodged with South Korean embassies and also sent to:

Kim, Young Sam
President of South Korea
Seoul City, Jonglo-Ku, Sejonglo-1, Blue House. South Korea
Fax: 82-2-730-5800

Copies should also be sent to:
People’s Victory 21 Fax : 82-2-701-9087
e-mail : vic21@hitel.net