South Korea official admits to blacklist of artists critical of Park Geun-hye

The administration of South Korean President Park Geun-hye kept a blacklist of cultural figures who were critical of her policies. A senior South Korean official confirmed she was aware of the list on Monday. Pool Photo by Andrew Harrer/Pool

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (UPI) — A senior South Korean official said she is aware of a government “blacklist” of artists.

Seoul’s Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun said for the first time the blacklist was created in order for the government to keep track of artists who were banned from receiving public support, The Korea Times reported.

“As far as I know, there was a list of artists who were banned from receiving state support for their political beliefs,” Cho said.

The official said she wasn’t briefed on the blacklist until January, although she took office in September, Yonhap reported.

Cho made the remarks during the seventh hearing on the case of Choi Soon-sil, who has been charged with interfering in government affairs and embezzling funds, using her connections to President Park Geun-hye as leverage when seeking donations from major South Korean corporations.

Cho’s statements were somewhat inconsistent, according to Yonhap.

At one point the official reportedly said she was aware of the list in late 2016, but that she did not know it was the list one of her staff members had submitted to prosecutors for investigation.

Cho also said the list had about “600 people” but stated she had “never seen such a document.”

The Korea Times reported a more extensive list of 9,000 people, including internationally renowned film director Park Chan-wook and poet Ko Un, who has visited North Korea, was created because of their opposition to Park and their criticism of the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry sinking in 2014.

Do Jong-hwan, a member of the opposition Minjoo Party, said the presidential Blue House and the national intelligence service determined the list of artists who held unfavorable views of the Park administration.

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