By Seo Dong-shin
The government plans to confer orders of merit on 47 left-wing independence activists for the 60th anniversary of National Liberation Day, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Wednesday. National Liberation Day is Aug. 15.
The ministry unveiled a list of 214 people who will get state honors for independence activities during the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial period.
The list includes, among others, Kim San (1905-1938), whose thoughts and activities as communist and independence fighter are heroically pictured in Nym Wales’ book, titled ``Song of Arirang: A Korean Communist in the Chinese Revolution.’’
The Chinese Communist Party executed Kim for alleged espionage in 1938, according to historic records.
Hyon Chin-gon (1900-1943), a prominent novelist, will receive a Presidential Medal, the ministry said. Hyon erased the Japanese flag from the uniform of Son Ki-jung, winner of the 1936 Berlin Olympics marathon race, in the picture of a vernacular daily when he was serving as an editor there.
Also included on the list is Kim Chul-su (1893-1986) who was a key figure in organizing independence activities among Korean students in Japan. He will receive an Independence Medal.
Kim was linked to a central committee member of the Choson Communist Party in the 1920s and was arrested for that association, twice receiving jail terms by the Japanese authorities.
He later quit political activities when Yo Un-hyung, another independence activist and politician who tried to bridge the gap between the left and the right after the nation’s liberation, was assassinated in 1947.
Other socialist independence activists, such as Kim Tae-yon (1891-1921) and Kim Han (1887-1938), who led the independence movement mainly in China and Russia, will be also posthumously honored with Independence Medals.
The honors will be awarded to living independence activists or their survivors at the National Liberation Day ceremony in Seoul or in provincial areas. Embassies will deliver the medals to those who live abroad.
The ministry recognized left-wing independence activists for the first time this year on the occasion of the 86th anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement in 1919.
Changing the previous policy of excluding any ``communists’’ from the list of state decorations completely, the ministry revised relevant regulations last February. Now only those who ``focused on activities aimed at setting up a communist country’’ or those who actively cooperated with such schemes remain outside the official tribute, ministry officials said.