We are unfortunately living in a period where any uninformed and unqualified schmuck can publish an article, write a social Media post and make an announcement devoid of any fact or truth. The term ‘fake news’ represents this abhorrent manipulative technique and unfortunately the Taekwon-Do community is not immune from it.
A journalist Kang Jae Kyu from the SISA News in Korea was sentenced by the prosecutor’s office on the 1st December 2017 [case number: 2017노 1097] after he wrote an article in June 2016 titled “Report of C. J. Oh convicted of forgery of ITF certificates” that was widely publicized and supported by Choi Jung Hwa’s ITF. The article accused the President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation registered in Korea, Oh Chang Jin of embezzling 160 million Korean Won to produce forged certificates along with other accusations. However, despite the court decision which absolutely cleared Oh Chang Jin of these false claims (issued in the Korean language), Choi Jung Hwa’s ITF spread this fake news and requested Kang Jae Kyu to publish the article that was full of lies to damage the good character of President Oh. The reporter was subsequently charged by the court for reporting this fake news and during his hearing he made a statement about the reason he posted the fake news saying: “I just received news and got it up”, further stating that “the person’s name who provided the fake news is Jeung who is working with Choi Jung Hwa.”
What is surprising is that the President of ITF (headquarters in the UK) Choi Jung Hwa, speaks fluent Korean and clearly would understand the content of the court decision but he still allowed this false reporting to be published on his Federation website and strongly promoted it through his advocates, his daughter Jasmine Choi and Secretary General Trevor Nicholls. Many members of Choi Jung Hwa’s organization who blindly followed their leader made very unsubstantiated defamatory comments about President Oh despite the fact that they did not know him personally and not understanding the Korean language, they could not read the court case decision themselves. In fact, only the first page of the court documents was published and promoted via social media and it did not have any information about the decision and was in Korean.
This is not the first time Choi Jung Hwa’s ITF has acted falsely and misled their members. In 2016 in Kazakhstan the representatives of Choi Jung Hwa’s group worked with his group in Korea who forged ITF HQ Korea documents and claimed they were legally registered documents from Korea. As a consequence, the forgery was revealed and the group was charged for “an offense under Article 158 of the Republic of Kazakhstan Code of administrative violations and subject to penalty in the form of an administrative fine in the amount of 40 (forty) monthly calculation indices in the amount of 84,840 (eighty-four thousand eight hundred forty) tenge in state revenue, with confiscation of goods containing illegal reproduction of the trademark, banners, stored under the trust receipt by Abenova E.Zh.”
Taekwon-Do is an art with tenets that students and leaders should follow. In contemporary society “lying” to the public is much easier to prove due to the ease of access to information via various social media tools. Also what has been written remains for a long time and makes the authors of their comments responsible for their words. We hope that those who are true ITF practitioners and follow the tenets of Taekwon-Do will have the courage to apologize to President Oh for their derogatory and irresponsible comments and will consider their future actions more carefully and whether they should trust their leaders without thought as they have in the past.
A few facts about Oh Chang Jin:
The International Taekwon-Do Federation was re-established in Korea in 2002 after being excluded since 1972 and was finally re-registered with the Government in 2006. President Oh met with General Choi Hong Hi for the first time in 2001, and later on many occasions, and they planned the re-introduction of ITF to South Korea. Oh, Chang-Jin (CJ-Oh), met Choi Jung Hwa in 2003 after the death of the Founder and helped Choi Jung Hwa to return to South Korea and work there.
CJ Oh faced many difficulties while re-introducing ITF to South Korea as per the Founders wish. He hoped that the help provided by Choi Jung Hwa would accelerate the process. However, after some time realized that the opposite was the case.
Therefore, steps have been taken to seek justice and those who are responsible for ordering the reporter to publish the fake news and mislead the Taekwon-Do community by trying to gain an advantage by defaming the character of the person who brought back ITF to South Korea will be held to account.
Let us now look toward the future and pursue the vision, the legacy promoted by the founder of this exceptional art. Let us not forget the tenets that must underlay not only our martial art practice, but also our daily conduct; Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. ITF HQ Korea, will persevere in our mission to pursue the dream of Gen Choi and we invite you to join us with your integrity intact. An indomitable spirit, after all, does not revel in ‘fake news’.