With the Korean Medical Association and the Oriental Medical Doctors' Association engaged in a seemingly perpetual war against chiropractors and other health professionals not recognized by Korean law, the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) has issued an appeal for support and donations on behalf of its member association. In a WFC press release dated June 30, 2011, the federation notes that the Korean Chiropractic Association, which once boasted upwards of 60 members, "is currently reduced to 17 members because of the hostile environment to chiropractic practice in Korea." According to the release, the two medical associations have been reporting chiropractors to the police for years and show no signs of letting up.
"Last month, formal chiropractic clinics were investigated by local health officers and one new prosecution has begun," said Dr. Taeg Su Choi, KCA president since 2003, who has faced five prosecutions himself since that time. "This is from complaints from the KMA and OMDA, which continue to try to get rid of the chiropractic profession in South Korea."
The legacy of persecution and prosecution in South Korea began when the first Korean chiropractor, Dr. Yong Serb Song, returned to his homeland from Palmer College of Chiropractic in the early 1990s. The founder and first president of the KCA, Dr. Song was convicted three times, while his son and daughter, fellow Palmer graduates Dr. Joonn-Han (Steven) Song and Su-Hie (Katrina) Song, have also faced prosecution. Since then, as the profession has expanded in South Korea, numerous other chiropractors have faced prosecution and imprisonment merely for practicing in accordance with their chosen profession. The June 30 WFC release offers further details regarding the state of chiropractic in Korea as follows (excerpted):
"Some convicted chiropractors, including Dr. Katrina Song, have appealed to the Constitutional Court. Their argument has been that Koreans have a constitutional right to choose and receive natural forms of health care that relieve pain and suffering, and that chiropractors have a constitutional right to offer those services."
"Each year the Constitutional Court has become more supportive as brave KCA leaders and others have continued in practice, faced prosecution and conviction, and then appealed."
KCA President Dr. Choi has also appealed "to both the Constitutional Court and within the general court system. In the general court appeal he received probation ... and has now launched a further appeal in the general court system and is waiting for hearings there and in the Constitutional Court."
Supporting these and other appeals is the KCA and its legal team, led by Taewon Park. To support the KCA and its efforts to protect its members and the chiropractic profession in South Korea, visit www.chiro.or.kr/index_eng.html.