Funeral Held for Iconic Progressive Politician Roh
Jay Yim, July 27, 2018, 9:34 a.m.
A funeral service for late lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan was held Friday at the National Assembly with thousands in attendance, including legislators, family members and supporters, bidding their farewell to the iconic progressive politician.
Parliamentary Speaker Moon Hee-sang hosted the service for the lawmaker, who jumped to his death earlier this week amid a political funding probe.
"You were a pathfinder and the symbol of progressive politics. You did not hesitate to fight against huge authority for justice," Moon said in his eulogy. "As your final message showed, you felt pain over workers' lives and rejoiced at the victory of the socially underprivileged.
"Although you've stopped here, the values and spirit that you pursued will resolutely continue," he said.
Roh, 61, the floor leader of the minor opposition Justice Party, jumped from an apartment to death Monday amid a probe into allegations that he received illegal political funds.
Roh, long known for his clean image, was widely popular for his pithy sound bites and sharp criticism against the establishment.
He recently faced an investigation into allegations that he took 50 million won (US$44,333) from an aide to a power blogger, known by the nickname Druking, who is at the center of an online opinion rigging scandal.
He had denied the allegations. But in a suicide note, he said that although he took 40 million won, it had nothing to do with illicit favors.
Roh is known to have participated in pro-democracy movements against then-authoritarian President Park Chung-hee in 1973, when he was a high school student.
After entering politics in 2004, he devoted his life to promoting the rights of working people and developing progressive politics.
Roh helped the Justice Party gain public support when he served as the floor leader of the party from 2016-2018. Last week, the approval rating for the party rose to 10 percent, a poll showed.
Thousands of people from various sectors bid their farewell to Roh during the five-day mourning period, according to party officials.
"Roh's political career was about representing the voices of the underprivileged and changing their lives," Lee Jeong-mi, the chief of the Justice Party, said in her eulogy.
After cremation, Roh was buried at a private cemetery in Namyangju, northeast of Seoul, where pro-democracy activists are also laid to rest.