Choi Soon-Sil Gate began with Soon-Sil Choi’s father, Pastor Tae-Min Choi, and progressed to include the Choi family’s collusion with President Geun-Hye Park. When President Park’s mother, Young-Soo Yuk, was assassinated, Tae-Min Choi received full authority over politics, economics, and media in South Korea. President Geun-Hye Park’s father, Jung-Hee Park and former president of Korea, wanted Choi out of government, but Choi refused to leave. After 30 years, Choi’s daughter, Soon-Sil Choi, planned to make Geun-Hye Park President, while she controlled everything behind Park’s back. Every aspect of the country was controlled by the Choi family and the pseudo-religion that they created.
During Park’s presidency, Soon-Sil Choi used the power of the presidency to her own benefit, including leaking confidential records, information, and military secrets. She also abused the civil service and civil servants. Choi received bribes from various enterprises, and they, in return, received favorable conditions, such as tax benefits and other advantages. However, as evidence of the deletion of various documents was revealed, as the situation for the Choi family began to unravel. Most importantly, President Park never disclosed her official position for the 7 hours during the time of the Sewol incident. Both Park and Choi denied any criminal actions, claiming that they were being falsely accused, even though much incriminating evidence was found.
Since October 29th, 2016, Korean citizens have been protesting the corruption with handheld candles to show their antipathy towards the Choi and Park. Citizens continued to keep candles burning even after the National Assembly passed the impeachment bill on December 9th last year. Woota, a blogger who participated in the seventeenth candlelight gathering on February 25th, 2017, wrote, “It seemed that the citizens who urged for the impeachment of the president were pouring into the streets.” Woota also added, “It is clear that the President believes her personal honor and comfort outweighs the comfort of the nation’s 50 million citizens.” On March 4th, the cumulative citizens’ candlelight participation rate, including the nineteenth gathering, numbered 16 million people. The largest candlelight vigil was dwarfed, however, by the miracle that citizens created through peaceful demonstration.
On March 10th, President Park became the first president to be expelled in Korea‘s constitutional history. The effect of the impeachment will occur pending an announcement from the Supreme Court, forcing her to step down from the presidency without fulfilling the term. The impeachment trial, which began last December, came to an end with a decision 92 days after the presidential ouster. The result was unanimous agreement. Through several broadcasting stations’ live broadcasts, Chief Justice Jung-Mi Lee announced, “The unlawful act of the respondent is a violation of the people’s trust, which is a serious legal violation that can not be tolerated under the terms of constitution. Since the negative ripple effect on constitutional order by the respondent' s violation is significant, the interest of constitutional protection obtained by dismissing the respondent is great” adding, “Therefore, the order represents the consensus opinion of all the judges. We dismiss Park Geun-Hye.” Justice Lee also said that the court hopes that the sentence will led to the end of sectarian disruption, and to lead toward a path of harmony and healing.
Participants who watched the live broadcast of the decision burst into cheers. People at the gathering shouted, “Candlelight has won!” and “It’s the ‘People’s Revolution Day!’” People were embracing each other and crying for joy. Everyone was relieved to hear of Park' s impeachment. Money Today, a Korean newspaper, added, “Darkness can never defeat the light, and that our common sense and justice have raised our country up again. The tragedy of times like these should never happen again.”
<Julia Na Won Yoon University High School 10th Grade