South Korea’s illiberal left: authoritarians in the service of totalitarians

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. [Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19] In America, we have grown accustomed to a political polarity in which we …

Gerry Bevers, Tokdo, and the Heckler’s Veto

Kind words about your thoughts mean all the more when they come from someone like Kevin Kim, a/k/a The Big Hominid. Kevin, who reads and writes in fluent French, speaks fluent Korean, and creates art and books that people pay real money for, is what people call a “renaissance man.” He’s even created photoshop icons …

First Act, Last Laugh, Part 2

I have a message  for whomever tried to stop “Yoduk Story” from playing in Seoul:  read, weep, and know that you have failed. “Whomever,” according to producer Jung Sung-San and the daily Chosun Ilbo (which backed YS), is  someone  in the South Korean government.  Eventually, the South Korean government got around to denying this.  Personally, …

Thugwatch

Now, they’re intimidating the opposition press: Chosun Ilbo honorary chairman Bang Woo-young (78) was attacked by two men in broad daylight on his way home from the family graveyard in Uijeongbu. After an event commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the death of former Chosun Ilbo president Bang Eung-mo on Friday, his car stopped to enter …

Key Congressional Staffers Speak Out on Free Speech, FTA

First, the obvious: the prognosis is bleak for the six-party talks. This from Democratic staffer Frank Januzzi. Januzzi spins this as Congress and the President (read: Republicans) avoiding responsibility, but a much more likely explanation is that Congress hates the deal so much that it won’t appropriate the funds to buy tribute for Pyongyang, particularly …

Carnival of the Revolutions, 29 August 2005

Welcome to the Carnival of the Revolutions edition for August 29th. Hosting next week’s edition (Sept. 5) will be Thinking-East; next up (Sept. 12) is Quid Nimis. Updates added, typos fixed. East Asia and the Pacific Rim Burma: Did the government’s army use chemical weapons against Karen rebels earlier this year? The Jubilee Campaign, a …

Meet the “Libertarians” who would surrender our liberty & our security to Kim Jong-un’s censors

I doubt that America has fully come to terms with the damage done to its freedom of expression by the Sony cyberterrorist attack of 2014, or by the increasing willingness of Muslim supremacists to extinguish our civil liberties through violence. It is an easy thing to be a civil libertarian when the subject is, say, …

Sony Pictures should go after North Korean hackers’ Chinese enablers

Since the weekend, several of you have e-mailed me about “suspicions” — and really, I don’t think they went further than that — that North Korea may have hacked Sony Pictures and leaked unreleased movies to file sharers to punish it for “The Interview.” Those rumors were covered by many outlets, but frankly, the open-source …

In South Korea, a political realignment

When President Park speaks of reunification as a “jackpot,” she is seizing an issue that the left had “owned” for at least a dozen years. Ten years ago, the left could draw crowds of candle-carrying thirty-somethings to swoon about reunification, at least in the abstract. The dream was qualified, complicated, and hopelessly unrealistic, but it …

Will a North Korean Attack Win the Yellow Sea for China?

Is the Yellow Sea a Chinese lake? Under ordinary circumstances, I’d understand China’s complaints about a U.S. naval exercise in an inland sea near its shores. It’s not as if I’d want Chinese ships in the Gulf of Mexico, either, but these are not ordinary circumstances. This time, North Korea has sunk a South Korean …

The Freedom of the State’s Press to Deceive the People Shall Be Abridged

[Updated below] In the wake of a court’s decision ordering a retraction of a distorted, sloppy, and  false  MBC report that triggered massive anti-government protests, Lee Myung Bak is moving to clean house.   A principled approach would be to ask why Korea’s government (or for that matter, ours) is in the business of broadcasting the …

Breaking the Blockade

[Update: Andrei Lankov has a must-read piece on radio broadcasting in the Asia Times Online.] Where there is demand, there will be a supply, and the trickle of alternative information to North Korea, though small, shows signs of persistence and of having a receptive market. In addition to Radio Free NK and Open Radio for …