In a nation mourning the 156 lives misplaced within the Itaewon crowd surge, a self-proclaimed cult-leading guru is gaining consideration for his inflammatory statements concerning the catastrophe and its victims.
Who is he, and the way come Koreans are outraged by his presence?
On November 2, Master Chungong (born Lee Byung Cheol), who has been referred to by one worldwide news outlet as a “Rasputin-like speaker,” uploaded a lecture-esque video to his YouTube channel during which he answered questions from his viewers. In the video, an viewers member introduced up the Itaewon catastrophe and requested what Korea’s leaders ought to do for the nation to recuperate.
World leaders are sending their condolences. How ought to the leaders of Korea go about recovering from the incident and work together with different world leaders?
Chungong responded to the query by stating that the deadly stampede was “an opportunity” for the nation and, seemingly, justified the lives misplaced as “a sacrifice.”
We preserve receiving good alternatives. The sacrifice of our youngsters’s lives wanted to be this grand to ensure that the world would begin taking a look at us. For this sacrifice to not be in useless, we should make sensible use of this chance to do one thing that provides gentle to this world.
Chungong then warned towards those that sought accountability for what occurred in Itaewon, referring to the nation’s leaders as “adults” who have been, too, affected.
You have to present the adults time to recuperate. You shouldn’t attempt to place the accountability on anyone.
Chungong’s statements have been instantly criticized by Koreans who rebuked him and expressed bewilderment at his remarks. Most accused him of utilizing the catastrophe for consideration and condemned him for “spewing bullsh*t.”
- “This f*cker is obviously not even human. Otherwise, how could he spew such bullsh*t?!”
- “The d*mned fools who serve this maniac as a mentor are the real problem, though.”
Among the outrage, nevertheless, some Koreans ended up mentioning Chungong’s alleged relationship with none apart from the South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol. These feedback believed Chungong’s responses to be proof of the long-following allegations that the President subscribes to shamanism and mysticism—particularly primarily based on the Chungong’s try and diminish the blame on the federal government.
- “Korea picked the wrong president… Now we suffer by having to watch stuff like this.”
- “A vermin on the loose.”
- “This is sending chills down my back, seriously.”
- “What demon is this, ruining the future of Korea? How would these deaths ever be opportunities? I don’t know much about spirituality, but I know that it’s the good that changes the world, not disasters. You demon.”
- “He sounds insane. Is his ultimate goal to destroy Korea forever?”
- “This is ridiculous. Like absolutely ridiculous. Get your sh*t together, Yoon Suk Yeol. Don’t look to someone like this to be your mentor.”
- “‘The sacrifice of our children’s lives needed to be this grand’? EXCUSE ME?”
So who’s Chungong?
According to his autobiography, Chungong was born in 1952. Not a lot is understood about his youthful years, however he claims to have withdrawn to the mountains on the age of 33 in 1985, to check and meditate for 17 years. Chungong first uploaded his YouTube video in 2011 and has steadily uploaded “teachings” of “Jungbub,” his cult, ever since.
The self-proclaimed guru’s previous claims embody:
- “Cancer can be cured with his hands.”
- “COVID-19 is spread among those that live with evil thoughts.”
- “Ghosts of criminals who get banished by the nation are trapped in a different dimension.”
President Yoon Suk Yeol’s alleged relationship with Chungong first got here to gentle throughout his marketing campaign to be the Presidential candidate for the conservative People Power Party.
During a debate on October 5, 2021, candidate Yoo Seung Min requested Yoon Suk Yeol if he had private connections with Chungong. At the time, Yoon Suk Yeol acknowledged his relationship with the guru however denied the notion that Chungong was his mentor.
The then-Presidential candidate would later state that he had met Chungong by means of his spouse. In truth, in line with a Joongang Ilbo article launched on October 7, 2021, Chungong revealed in an interview with YTN that the First Lady Kim Keon Hee had launched him to Yoon Suk Yeol.
Yoon Suk Yeol’s acknowledgment of understanding the controversial determine sparked widespread allegations that he subscribed to shamanism.
I used to be informed that [Kim Keon Hee] had contacted me, so I mentioned I’d wait right here. When I met her, she introduced the earlier Prosecutor General, Yoon Suk Yeol, together with her. That’s how I obtained to know him.
What are the alleged evidences that Chungong is Yoon Suk Yeol’s mentor?
Yoon Suk Yeol’s Retirement as Prosecutor General
In the above-mentioned YTN interview, Chungong additionally revealed that he had suggested Yoon Suk Yeol to retire as Prosecutor General. Yoon Suk Yeol, who was the then-Prosecutor General, retired from his workplace after an influence wrestle with former President Moon Jae In.
Yoon Suk Yeol, who was appointed to Prosecutor General by Moon Jae In, fell out with the previous President when, weeks after the appointment, he sanctioned an investigation into Justice Minister Cho Guk, a detailed confidant of Moon Jae In.
I coached him that the time to step down would come. I informed him if he fought for too lengthy, then all the opposite prosecutors would undergo and that he ought to contemplate this in his determination.
Yoon Suk Yeol denied that Chungong had performed an element in his determination to step down. In a Seoul Shinmun article launched on October 12, 2021, the then-front runner to be the People Power Party’s Presidential candidate, Yoon Suk Yeol, made it clear that he “distanced [himself]” from his alleged mentor.
The 王 Symbol on Yoon Suk Yeol’s Palm
Despite his denial of his affiliation with Chungong, Yoon Suk Yeol confronted fierce public criticism once more when Koreans caught one other “hint” of the his alleged subscription to shamanism. During a special debate, the digital camera captured Yoon Suk Yeol’s left palm with a Chinese character symbolizing “King” written on it.
At the time, Yoon Suk Yeol defined that the image was written by a supporter. But the chief of the then-ruling Democratic Party, Song Young Gil, chastised Yoon Suk Yeol and claimed the stunt harked again to 2016, when a political scandal ousted the then-President Park Geun Hye for being influenced and corrupted by Choi Soon Sil—the daughter of a shaman-esque cult chief Choi Tae Min.
I’m afraid we are going to revert again to the Choi Soon Sil period. I don’t know if this was certainly completed by those that consider that the President, who’s the primary public servant, is a king. But there was a bewildering incident the place (Yoon Suk Yeol) wrote “King” as if it was a shamanistic attraction.
— Song Young Gil
Chungong, too, denied being the one who suggested Yoon Suk Yeol to jot down the attraction in his palm. But allegations of the President’s relationship with the person and shamanism continues to today.
Jungbub Teachings in Government Facilities
In August 2022, a customer to the Tax Administration Office in Jinju, Southern Gyeongsang Province, revealed that Chungong’s teachings have been discovered on a placard above the toilet urinals. When JTBC investigated, workers of the workplace revealed they have been instructed to position the placard by their superiors.
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Intentional Absence from Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral
On September 18, 2022, President Yoon Suk Yeol was accused of intentionally “missing” the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral service—believed to be due to Chungong’s recommendation. The President and First Lady initially said that they’d missed the service resulting from site visitors. President of the Policy Committee Kim Sung Hwan, nevertheless, alleged that the President had loads of time to attend the service however didn’t after Chungong uploaded a video that suggested the President to not as doing so would expose him to “bad vibes.”
Two days after Chungong uploaded a video stating that he shouldn’t go to the viewing as a result of he’ll be uncovered to unhealthy vibes, the President modified his departure schedule was modified. If they’d left at seven (as beforehand deliberate), they’d have had loads of time to make it to the funeral service. Suppose the President isn’t capable of give a transparent clarification. In that case, residents must consider that ‘Due to the bad vibes’ that Chungong spoke about, the departure was delayed, and that their President used site visitors as an excuse to skip the funeral intentionally.
— President of the Policy Committee Kim Sung Hwang
Yoon Suk Yeol attended the funeral on September 19, 2022—after the service had taken place.
Tak Hyun Min, who served as a protocol secretary of Yoon’s predecessor Moon Jae In, mentioned the which means of signing the condolence guide after the funeral can’t be the identical as earlier than the service.
‘Yoon should have arrived there earlier, at least by one or two hours,’ he mentioned throughout an MBC radio program. ‘They committed a discourtesy. The foreign ministry and the office in charge of the president’s protocol are liable for it.’
— Reporter Jung Min Ho through The Korea Times
The Move Out from the Blue House
The most damning proof of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s ties to shamanism, although, is his earliest and most formidable endeavor since turning into President. Yoon Suk Yeol turned heads when, days into his time period, he introduced that he could be transferring the Presidential Office from the Blue House to Yongsan, Seoul.
The determination has acquired bi-partisan disapproval, with members of his personal get together alleging that geomancy—which is tied to shamanism—had performed an element within the President’s determination. Yoon Suk Yeol dismissed the allegations.
“That’s an issue that came up in the presidential election, but the Democratic Party seems to be more interested in shamans [than I am]. I’d never written off the idea of [moving the office to] Yongsan, and I considered several options while I was drawing up my campaign pledges.”
— President Yoon Seok Yeol to Hankyoreh
Chungong additionally denied having instantly coached Yoon Suk Yeol concerning the transfer, however believed a video of his might have performed a task. He additionally believed “the move to Yongsan [to be] such a great decision.”
It is feasible that the President noticed my video from three years in the past about how Yongsan goes to develop into the subsequent up-and-coming piece of land. Overall, the transfer to Yongsan is such an awesome determination.
— Chungong through YTN
Korean residents paid a dire consequence for the President’s transfer to Yongsan, no matter whether or not the choice was actually spurred on by superstition or not. Itaewon, the center of Seoul’s Yongsan District, suffered a nationwide catastrophe on October 29; But on the time of the tragic crowd surge, the chief of the Yongsan Police Station was occupied controlling an meeting close to the brand new presidential workplace. And the absence of a central “Control Tower” is claimed to have triggered the police’s full failure in fast decision-making.
While Korean media shops have since reported that, beginning lengthy earlier than the weekend of Halloween, Yongsan Police Station had been combating understaffing resulting from patrolling the world and escorting the President forwards and backwards throughout his commute to the brand new Presidential Office, the chief of South Korea’s National Police Agency Yoon Hee Keun admitted fault and apologized for an “inadequate emergency response.”
Following the catastrophe, in addition to the nationwide backlash for the dearth of preventative measures, the Yongsan Police Station and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency are being investigated for negligence.
The Yongsan Police Precinct claims it informed the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency it wanted extra forces when discussing safety measures for Halloween. The Seoul police company claims there was no such official request. Instead, police forces have been dispatched to 21 rallies held in Seoul that day and none to manage the Halloween celebrations in Itaewon.
A flawed system for the way lower-level officers report up the chain of command might have contributed to the gradual response and chaos on the night time of October 29…
… Some critics are skeptical of police investigating their very own botched response to the Itaewon catastrophe and fear that they’ll shift the blame to decrease stage front-line officers.
— Sarah Kim through The JoongAng Daily
So, is Chungong actually Yoon Suk Yeol’s mentor?
Both Yoon Suk Yeol and Chungong have firmly said that, no less than after Yoon Suk Yeol formally grew to become a presidential candidate, the 2 have by no means met. Contradicting his personal declare that he “coached” Yoon Suk Yeol at one level, Chungong additionally insisted that no “mentorship” exists between the 2. A big and rising variety of Koreans stay skeptical.
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