Monday, August 11, 2008

[The Hankyoreh, August 1 2008] [Editorial] Military’s regressive and anti-intellectual book censorship

The Ministry of Defense has labeled educational books, best sellers and even the work of great global scholars as “seditious material” and ordered the Army, Navy and Air Force to confiscate them. The ministry, even after this instruction became an issue, said it would continue to classify such works as seditious. That labeling books as “seditious” is still rampant is surprising; to act if nothing’s wrong is even sorrier.

If you look at the list of “seditious books” composed by the military’s security department, it seems the military is lowering its understanding of seditious to quite a bit lower than that of society at large. Cambridge University Professor Ha-Joon Chang’s “Bad Samaritans,” classified as anti-government and anti-American, has been selected as “Book of the Year” by several media outlets. It is an economic text for the general public whose Korean and English editions are both best sellers. Hyeon Gi-yeong’s novel “A Spoon on Earth,” labeled a pro-North Korean work, has been recommended in the broadcast media and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. “Year 501: The Conquest Continues,” classified as an anti-government and anti-American work, is a book by the great international scholar Noam Chomsky. Even university textbooks are on the list.

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