[Kim Myeong-sik] The business community needs to raise its own political voice
“I don’t like communists,” Shinsegae vice chairman Chung Yong-jin said in a recent message on social media. He responded to comments on his picture with a red wallet and Jackson pizza in an ad. “Do I look a bit like a communist? Never get me wrong … I believe in anti-communist democracy, which should be the core of our patriotism and which is the only way to realize the ideals of the free world, ”he said.
As a citizen of this anti-communist state, the self-identification of 53-year-old Chung, who runs practically the largest retail company in Korea, is nothing unusual. But after four and a half years of left-wing rule by President Moon Jae-in, which kept making love calls to communist North Korea, such a casual statement from a senior businessman sounded like a deliberate act of resistance to political authority.
Chung, a grandson of Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull and an equal cousin of Lee Jae-yong, is widely recognized by the media for his flamboyant lifestyle and bold business ventures. He married a top television star, divorced her after having two children, and married a flautist to have twins. As a fitness fan and motorcycle collector, he has a keen interest in the art of cooking and has made friends with famous chefs.
His private remarks and words on the Internet sometimes contain sarcasm and subtle political criticism that have raised concerns among his Shinsegae leaders about possible complaints from those in power. When President Moon Jae-in called on his political opponents to revolt years ago with a line in the guest book at the mourning tent for the victims of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, he said: “My dear boys and girls, I am sorry and thank you”, Chung similarly expressed “sadness and gratitude” to his dead dog on social media.
The president showed his real feeling because he knew he owed his rise to power to the tragic deaths of hundreds of high school students in the 2014 maritime disaster, which weakened public confidence in then President Park Geun-hye and sparked months of mass protests . Chung either genuinely sympathized with the president for his complex disposition or reprimanded him on ethical grounds.
Now the presidential election campaigns are in full swing and we are excited to see how the chaebol look forward to March 9th. Chung Yong-jin is an exception to the general silence of the business community, whose members have been under the anti-business pro-labor stance of the Moon Jae-in government since its inception in 2017.
Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman and virtual director of Samsung Electronics, was jailed during the Park Geun-hye presidency for bribery related to the Choi-Sun-sil scandal and several months before his 2½-year-old was finished Paroled tenure. Year imprisonment. Unlike their ancestors, today’s chaebol owners are not looking for any special friendship with those in power, but fear that the anti-business trend would only get worse if left-wing activists remained in power in alliance with trade unions and other radical elements.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Group and chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry since March, has set himself the task of identifying the cause of the apparent anti-business sentiment among the Korean public that is being used by the left Power in the development of laws and systems that bind business activities. Researchers examine how chaebol companies were held accountable during economic crises at the national and global levels.
The Major Industrial Disaster Penalty Act is the main result of leftist efforts to socially condemn businesses. The law passed by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea with a large majority in the legislature comes into force within two months to punish business owners for deaths and injuries at industrial sites. The new law will initially apply to companies with 50 or more employees, while unions are calling for smaller jobs to be included.
Employers responsible for major disasters that result in the death of one or more workers, or injuries to two or more, face a minimum of one year in prison or a fine of up to 1 billion won (US $ 845,000). With the death toll at industrial sites ranging from 800 to 900 a year over the past two years, many business owners will face severe penalties if the death toll remains at similar levels.
This law may reflect a heightened security awareness in our society, but it is also a product of the anti-business policies in today’s Korea. Analysts point out that the four pillars of Moon Jae-in’s rule – the national Minnochong union, the Jeongyojo teachers’ union, environmental activist organizations and the Chamyeo Yeondae group, which monitors corporate inappropriateness – are all geared towards antagonism towards companies with progressive lawyers at their side.
Radical activities by Minnochong and Jeongyojo often involve violating the law, resulting in the prosecution of important members. But their charges are being judged mildly by benevolent judges, and help is available from the Liberal Association of Lawyers for a Democratic Society, also known as the Minbyeon. Inside the court remains an unofficial research group, once headed by the current Chief Justice Kim Myung-soo, to defend left-wing concerns.
The raging coronavirus over the past two years may have slowed the ruling power’s campaign to subdue industrialists and capitalists, as it is aware that their companies are creating jobs and incomes to make a national livelihood amid the onslaught of the epidemic. However, amid ongoing adversity, the left used organized power to protect their personal interests by alienating temporary workers and teachers.
Business owners and their employees, either members of Minnochong or the Hannochong Moderate Union, have seen the national economy decline in recent years due to the false socio-economic theme called “income growth,” which simply means the cart pulls the horse . Employers and employees should work together and thrive together, and positively use the opportunity of a change of government to make things better.
Entrepreneurs like Chung Yong-jin have enough education and social training to have a solid vision for the future. While pursuing their life and business goals, they should be free to express their own political ideas with no intention of patronizing or opposing any particular group. When Chung said, “I don’t like communists,” he was ready to take responsibility for the consequences of posting on social media in the hope and belief that whoever wins the election won’t mind.
Kim Myong-sik is a former editor for The Korea Herald. In the 1990s he was the editor-in-chief of the Korea Times. – ed.
From Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)