The keyword that runs through the political life of former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae is ‘strength’. In her recently published book, The Flag of Chu Mi-ae, former Minister Choo wrote, “I don’t think it’s a problem that needs to be solved at my own place, so I don’t just pass it by. When he declared his candidacy on the 30th of last month, he said, “I will fundamentally reform unfairness. All administrative acts and the exercise of power that are against human rights must be immediately abolished,” he said.
Former Minister Choo was born in Dasa-eup, Dalseong-gun, Daegu in October 1958. She was the second daughter of two sons and two daughters at the laundry. There were ups and downs, but they were neither wealthy nor poor.
In the 6th grade of Namsan Elementary School in Daegu, 12-year-old Chu Mi-ae kicked out of the classroom when her homeroom teacher, who revealed the village, beat her friend without mercy. The reason was, “If I didn’t go, the teacher would think he was right.” “(From this point on) I started to dream of becoming a journalist or a lawyer who fights corruption,” Choo wrote in the book.
Former Minister Choo remembers the days of Daegu Boys Girls’ Middle School as “a teenage girl who ‘smiles even when only the leaves are rolling'”. I read my aunts’ 19-gold romance novels, 『The Three Kingdoms』, etc. When the teacher asked her motto when she entered the prestigious Gyeongbuk Girls’ High School, high school girl Chu Mi-ae answered, “I will live a life with no regrets.”
In 1977, he entered the law department of Hanyang University, which offers scholarships. Attorney Seo Seong-hwan, a classmate of the same class, caught his eye. The love affair started two years later. When former Minister Chu entered Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do to study for the exam, Seo sent a letter containing his own poem. Chu recalled, “His deep eyes popped up and I couldn’t concentrate on the book.” The test was put on after being rejected once.
The couple got married in 1985 after dating for 7 years. Lawyer Seo, who was born in Honam (Jeong-eup, Jeollabuk-do), suffered from a disability in one leg in a car accident in high school. Despite the objection of “Do I have to live with such a person?”, Choo pushed ahead with the wedding. Later, they had two daughters and a son.
After passing the bar exam in 1982, former Minister Choo chose a judge. It is said that it was influenced by a university teacher’s hearing from a student, “Why do you want to be a swordsman that kills people?” As soon as she took office in the Chuncheon District Court in 1985, Chu Mi-ae established an affair with the public security authorities. The prosecution’s request for a warrant for a college student caught during a pro-democracy protest was dismissed. “I tried not to be a shameful judge,” said former Minister Choo.
In 1995, he received a love call from former President Kim Dae-jung (DJ), who was the leader of the opposition party, and ended his 10 years and 6 months of judgement. The DJ persuaded former Minister Choo and his wife by unraveling the full story of the ‘Kim Dae-jung kidnapping case’ at the time. Choo Mi-ae, 36, was moved by the calm words of an old politician (71 years old at the time).
In the 15th general election held the following year, Choo was elected for the first time in Gwangjin-eul, Seoul. Former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Min-seok were his motives for enlisting. In the 15th presidential election in 1997, he led the Joan of Arc campaign and helped former President Kim. It was then that the nickname ‘Chudark’ was born.
His relationship with former President Roh Moo-hyun was not deep. In June 2002, former President Roh, who was a presidential candidate for the Millennium Democratic Party, came to the office without notice and said, “Chuo (Chief (Member)! He said he was drawn to the words, “Please help me.” After collecting 5.7 billion won through the small fundraising campaign ‘Hope Piggy Bank’, the nickname ‘Pig Mom’ was added to Choo.
However, he was left with the Democratic Party, which became the opposition party after the Uri Party fell and, inevitably, faced a headwind in 2004 when he stood in the ranks of former President Roh. As an apology, in April of that year, from the Gwangju Provincial Office to the May 18th Cemetery, they held a three-day ceremony for two nights and three days. However, after losing the 17th general election, he remained in the minority for a long time. “It was the most regretful mistake I made in my life, and it was a mistake,” said former Minister Choo.
At the Democratic National Convention in August 2016, he received support from the Chin-Moon group and was elected as the representative. In December of that year, the National Assembly passed a bill to impeach former President Park Geun-hye, and in 2017, President Moon Jae-in was elected.
In the aftermath of the “motherland crisis,” he was appointed as the third Minister of Justice under the Moon Jae-in administration in January last year. However, after the ‘Chu-Yun conflict’, he resigned in January of this year. Former Minister Chu, who declared his second presidential challenge on the 30th of last month, is calling himself a “pheasant hawk” by beating former president Yoon Seok-yeol, who is the leader of the opposition, every day. At a press conference held in Mokpo, Jeollanam-do on the 15th, former Minister Choo said, “Now, the big three passport candidates will be Choo Mi-ae, Lee Jae-myung, and Lee Nak-yeon.”
By Kim Hyo-seong, staff reporter [email protected]