2:59 PM EDT, April 13, 2012
A recent story on the opinion page of the Korea Times English language edition called South Korea a "plagiarizers' paradise."
And that situation may force the International Olympic Committee to deal with another devilish plagiarism case involving one of its members.
The member in question this time is Dae Sung Moon, an extremely popular figure in South Korea since winning a world title in taekwondo in 1999 and an Olympic gold medal in 2004.
Moon was among four athletes elected in 2008 to eight-year terms as IOC members. Wednesday, South Korean voters chose him as a member of the country's National Assembly.
Moon, a member of the ruling Saenuri party, received 45.1 percent of the vote to 41.6 percent for his closest rival.
The opposition vainly had asked Moon to abandon his campaign because of the plagiarism issue.
Having a political role in his country is a coincidental parallel between Moon's case and that of IOC member Pal Schmitt.
Schmitt was forced to resign as president of Hungary after an investigative committee at Semmelweis University determined he had directly copied or substantially plagiarized 90 percent of a doctoral thesis on the program of the modern Olympic Games. The university's faculty senate stripped Schmitt of his degree, and he has vowed to appeal the decision.
The IOC has said that it will study Schmitt's case.
It undoubtedly will have a similar comment about Moon's case should an investigation undertaken by Kookmin University, where he did the doctoral work, determine the 35-year-old physical education professor at Dong-A University also is guilty of plagiarism.
In an email this week, Kookmin University physical education department chairman Dae Taek Lee said the university's research ethics committee will take "approximately three or four months" before announcing a decision on Moon.
Saenuri party officials reportedly will await the university's decision before having any discussion about Moon's political future.
According to the Korea Times, Moon has denied the plagiarism charges. An email seeking comment from Moon was not immediately answered.
"Despite Moon's denial," the Korea Times wrote, "there appears even no need for more debate, as his papers copied dozens of pages, even including typos, belonging to someone else."
Moon's plagiarism, if proved, is more damning than Schmitt's. It is a crime against academe, and Moon is a member of academe.
As far as the IOC is concerned, a crime against honesty should be bad enough, and a university committee's finding of guilty would seem enough evidence of that crime.
The IOC bans athletes who cheat. It must do the same to members.
Otherwise, as my longtime colleague Karen Rosen put it so cleverly in a Facebook comment on this story (note how I properly credited her), the Olympic motto should be revised:
Citius. Altius. Fortius. Copy-us.
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