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A matter of investigation

Aug 22,2019
Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk faces multiple questions about his daughter alone. The 28-year-old student attending Pusan National University’s Graduate School of Medicine is the daughter of a prestigious scholar who has enjoyed many privileges since her teenage years. Her name was listed as the first author of an English-language paper submitted to the Korea Society of Pathologists in 2008, when she was a high school student participating in a two-week internship at the Medical Science Research Institute in Dankook University’s College of Medicine. Cho claims her daughter was praised for her hard work during the internship.

That achievement would surely have been included on her college application and as a result she was accepted by early admission to the prestigious Korea University. Having a name on a paper published in an accredited medical journal would be envied by any student aspiring to enter a top university.

A halo followed her throughout higher education. While attending the Graduate School of Medicine at Pusan National University, she received a scholarship for six consecutive semesters even after she had flunked. Few would see that as normal. His daughter transferred to a foreign language high school after studying in the United States. While applying for Korea University and the graduate school at Pusan National University, she never sat for any tests. She entered the nation’s top schools through documents and interviews. Is this possible for children from regular backgrounds?

Cho’s daughter reminds many of Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, whose friendship led to the ousting of President Park Geun-hye. The head of the university and professors who played a role in accepting Chung into Ewha Womans’ University were found guilty. Chung’s admission to the prestigious school was revoked, as well as her high school diploma, after her attendance record was found to have been falsified.

Cho’s remarks made as a scholar and civilian activist make the situation even more striking. He criticized the Park Geun-hye administration for its elitism by highlighting Chung’s case. He supported student campaigns to cut university tuitions, demanding scholarships should be offered in consideration of financial hardship, not grades. President Moon Jae-in would be contradicting himself if he insists on keeping him. He should recall his inaugural address where he promised a world of justice and fair opportunities.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 21, Page 30