Regarding the Military Academy’s decision to move the bust of General Hong Beom-do from inside the school to outside, Noja Park, a Korean studies professor at the University of Oslo and a naturalized Korean from Russia, said, “It’s like the government is throwing an ideological argument at an independence hero to cover up its incompetence and mismanagement.” . He also pointed out, “General Hong is also a symbol of the collective identity of 500,000 Goryeo people,” and “Does desecrating him help social integration?”
Professor Park, who studies the lives of Koreans who are reverse immigrants, said this on his social network service ( SNS ) on the 2nd, saying, “The skit about removing the bust of General Hong at the Military Academy is literally a ‘smokescreen operation.’”
He said, “General Hong is not simply a hero of the independence movement,” and “one-fifth of the 500,000 Koryo people currently live in Korea, and Korea is shouldering the task of socially integrating them.” He then pointed out, “Will insulting the symbol of General Hong like this really help achieve social integration and further build good relations with the former Soviet Union’s Koryo diaspora?”
In particular, he pointed out that the current controversy over the relocation of the bust is being done to cover up the government’s incompetence. Professor Park said, “Due to sluggish exports, the economic growth rate forecast is twice as low as the global average, and large-scale environmental crimes of which the Korean government has become an accessory, such as the discharge of contaminated water from Japan, are being committed,” adding, “The demolition of the bust and the ideology that led to the demolition “The controversy is ultimately a topic that will turn the public’s attention,” he said. He then went so far as to call the transfer of the bust a “subjugation” of General Hong and strongly criticized it as “a shameless clique, and it cannot even be called안전놀이터 a government.”
While news of the bust relocation was met with great opposition at home and abroad, Korean compatriots in Kazakhstan, where General Hong spent his final years, also called for the relocation plan to be withdrawn. Lee Lyubopy, artistic director of the Kazakh National Academy’s Koryo Theater, and Park Dmitry, head of the Kazakhstan branch of the General Hong Beom-do Memorial Society, held a press conference at the Koryo Theater in Almaty on the 1st (local time) to protest against the plan to relocate the bust.
In front of a large photo of General Hong Beom-do inside the Goryeo Theater, they held placards that read, ‘If you have enshrined General Hong Beom-do, hero of the Anti-Japanese War of Independence, enshrine him properly,’ and ‘If General Hong Beom-do’s history with the Communist Party is a problem, are my family and 500,000 Korean compatriots also enemies of the mother country?’ He expressed his opposition to the move.
Chairman Park, who was present at the scene of the repatriation of General Hong Beom-do’s remains in 2021, said, “At the time, I felt proud when I thought that General Hong Beom-do would pass away in the arms of his beautiful liberated motherland, and I felt proud of the country called Korea.” He added, “The people of Kazakhstan also felt the same way. “He said.
However, he said, “I was even more shocked by the news that among the five heroes of the war of independence, only the bust of General Hong Beom-do was to be removed.” He added, “If so, then my late father, who was a Communist Party member, and I, who was born in the former Soviet Union and lived under the Soviet system for about half of my life, were even more shocked.” Is it subject to removal? “In the 21st century, it has been over 30 years since neither the Communist Party nor the Soviet Union existed anymore, so does this make sense?” he asked.
Artistic Director Lee emphasized, “Even if the system and regime change, General Hong Beom-do is our nation’s independence war hero,” and added, “Koryo Theater will do its best to ensure that he does not disappear forever from the memories of 80 million Koreans.”