Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Country of Liars by Kim Dae-joong

In every country there are crimes that uniquely reflect its society. National Intelligence Service director-designate Kim Seung-kyu, in a lecture he gave late in May when he was justice minister, said: "The three representative crimes of our country are perjury, libel and fraud." In simple comparison, not taking into account population ratio, South Korea saw 16 times as many perjury cases in 2003 than Japan, 39 times as many libel cases and 26 times as many instances of fraud. That is extraordinarily high given Japan's population is three times our own.

The common denominator of the three crimes is lying; in short, we live in a country of liars. The prosecution devotes 70 percent of its work to handling the three crimes, the former justice minister said. And because suspects lie so much, the indictment rate in fraud cases is 19.5 percent, in perjury 29 percent and in libel 43.1 percent. "Internationally, too, there is a perception that South Korea's representative crime is fraud," Kim said, adding that recent major scandals show how rampant lying is in this country.

Lying is so common in our society because few recognize that it leads to crime. "What's wrong with telling a little lie?" they think. And here the big problem is that men of power, rather than ordinary citizens, indulge in lying on a massive scale, to the point where it is regarded as a necessary means of survival in some circles.

A recent example that hurt us all is the lies of Kim Dae-yeop, finally punished by a court for fabricating a charge against the opposition presidential candidate in the 2002 elections. That lie determined the fate of a government. When the opposition party demanded an apology, he laughed in their face by sending apples -- phonetically, both apples and apology are “sagwa.”

Such behavior generally has its roots in the arrogance and egotism of those who feel that what they do is always right and anything that gets in the way is wrong. It also springs from a perception that the best strategy is to reject anything that does not fit in with your beliefs -- for example by thinking that you don’t have to abide by laws you have decided are "evil".

We can glimpse in the way our presidents wield their enormous power a sense that it is all right on occasion for you to distort a situation or slander others short of outright lying if that is what it takes to achieve your aims. Nor can it be denied that our cultural climate has justified the perception that if you manage to get out of a tight spot by lying first, you will be able to overcome the whole matter one way or the other.

We, too, need nationwide education to foster a public perception that lying is a crime that degrades human nature and causes a plethora of social evils. We must thoroughly punish slander and deception of others. Our leadership and the entire country have much to learn from the mother in Gwangju who early in June sent her son back to police after false testimony got him off an assault charge, with a request that he be taught some honesty.
July.3,2005 23 The Chosun Ilbo

I hope so too.


 偽証がこのように多い理由は、嘘を大したことと思わない社会の風潮と、「情」にもろい韓国の文化が最も大きな理由だと判・検事は話す記事入力 : 2003/02/13 19:05/朝鮮日報

In2000, 1198 Koreans were prosecuted for perjury in Korea while only 5 people were prosecuted for the same crime in Japan. Considering the difference in the total population, the cases of perjury is as 671 times in Korean as many as in Japan. According to the judges and prosecutors , it is due to the social trend where people takes lies as trifle things and it is also due to the culture where people put value too much on the emotional feelings(情).

I've found English translation.
Perjury Cases Continue to Rise

Perjury offenses are on the rise with prosecutors charged 1,343 persons with the crime in 2002, a 60 percent increase since 1998's 845 it was reported Thursday. The number shows a significance difference from Japan, where five persons were charged with perjury in 2000, compared to the 1,198 Koreans during the same year.

Judges and prosecutors say that perjury results from culture; telling lies is not considered to be "seriously wrong," and good friends are not supposed to "tell" on each other.Feb.13,2003

No comments: