- Prof. Kang Released on Bail
The Post has already reported on the arrest of Kang Jeong-koo, a professor in the Dept. of Sociology at DU, after his visiting the North in August and the controversy over this visit on campus in the 328th issue. Prof. Kang, who was arrested for violating the National Security Law (NSL), was released on bail on Oct. 11. The following article reports on his appearance at DU after the release.............Ed.
Welcoming Ceremonies for Prof. Kang
On Oct. 17, students in the Dept. of Sociology held a welcoming ceremony for Prof. Kang at a classroom in Dongguk Hall. At the ceremony, Prof. Kang said that DU students' striking against his arrest moved his heart and also strongly encouraged him. He added, "I was painfully worried whether my behavior may have had a bad effect on the government's policy on unification of the two Koreas."
"Although my husband was arrested for preposterous reasons, I felt miserable because I was not able to do something," his wife said at the welcoming ceremony. She said, however, that she was so very proud of her husband because he had been working for national reunification which most people are reluctant to do.
Prof. Kang stressed that travail is inevitable for historical advancement in our society, but we need to minimize unnecessary and nonproductive travail. And he expressed his thanks for the ceremony: "It's the first time to be welcomed by so many people in my 50-year struggle."
One hour after the ceremony commenced, the audience repaired to Rumbini Building for a reception dinner. And the committees active in the release of Prof. Kang including "DU Strike Headquarters for the Release of Prof. Kang and Abolition of the NSL" also held a welcoming ceremony for Prof. Kang in the presence of many members from several social groups including Reunification Associates, Korean Confederation of Trade Union, and Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice.
"Prof. Kang Jung-koo's Academy and Thought"
On Oct. 27, the Dept. of Sociology of the DU Graduate School and the Dept. of Sociology of the Sungkonghoe University Graduate School held "An Academic Symposium for Freedom of Academy and Thought" with the support of the Committee for Release of Prof. Kang and the Student Council of Postgraduates at a classroom in Dongguk Hall.
Cho Uhn, the dean of College of Social Science, gave an opening address: "Prof. Kang wrote voluminous theses for about ten years. I think he is preeminent in Korea now. And I am pleased that Prof. Kang attended this symposium today though it was hard for him."
Cho Don-mun, a professor in the Dept. of Sociology at the Catholic University of Korea, gave his view of Prof. Kang's writings. He said, "Prof. Kang's message is aimed at Korean people, and is based on Korean modern history and our current society." Then six persons including professors and social activists expressed their opinions about Prof. Kang's views toward North Korea, the U.S.A. and unification of the two Koreas.
Lee Tae-seop, a professor in the College of Reunification at Inje University, said, "Prof. Kang also severally criticized North Korea as well as South Korea." Kim Kwang-yong, a professor in the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Hanyang University, said, "While Prof. Kang is realistic, he is also principled. He is an honest scholar with integrity." However, Lee Jae-bong, a professor in the Dept. of Politics at Wonkwang University, pointed out that Prof. Kang's writings were not always neutral but subjective.
Finishing the symposium, Prof. Kang said, "In the 21st century, we have to accomplish peace and reconciliation of our nation. I have devoted my studies to the goal over the past years. However, it is early for me to discuss about my own studies."
The police even used Prof. Kang's theses as evidence against him. He said, however, "My theses about U.S. Armed Forces in Korea and the Korean War, the ways of the reunification and so on are for meeting our national expectation. In Korea, academic activities cannot help being criticized because they are inevitably national and popular."
"I cannot understand the reason why the NSL restrains academic freedom. The police do not prescribe even the meaning of several terms such as Juche spirit. If I am really against the NSL, the Police should clearly present corroborative facts in a court of law. I will defend myself in such a court," he added.
On Oct. 29, Prof. Kang stood trial for the charge of violating the NSL in the Seoul District Court, and the next trial will be on Dec. 3.
Kim Dong-ho firstname.lastname@example.org
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