What They Said is a weekly series on the quotes behind the headlines.
Former justice minister Cho Kuk’s daughter, Cho Min, caused a stir earlier this month with an unexpected public appearance in the form of an interview with controversial left-leaning journalist Kim Ou-Joon. Kim’s radio show on TBS (News Factory) was canceled in 2022 amid accusations of political bias, and Cho Min’s interview aired on Kim’s new YouTube channel on February 6.
Just a couple of days earlier, on February 3, her father Cho Kuk had been sentenced to two years in prison on charges related to an academic admissions scandal involving Cho Min and her younger brother. The charges included forging documents to boost the odds of his children’s acceptance into prestigious universities.
Her mother, Chung Kyung-shim, is already serving a four-year prison sentence, upheld by the Supreme Court of Korea in 2022, on charges of academic fraud related to Cho Min’s college admission, and both Pusan National University’s School of Medicine and Korea University (where Cho completed her undergraduate studies) revoked her admissions in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
So, considering that Cho Min has been the target of unwanted media attention for several years now and that the prosecution service is still investigating her as a possible accomplice to her mother regarding the academic fraud, her public appearance was somewhat of a surprise.
During the interview, Cho explained her reason for agreeing to the interview:
“For the past four years, I have lived only as the daughter of former minister Cho Kuk, but today as I watched my father receive a prison sentence, I mulled over whether I had a clean conscience. I do have a clean conscience. I’ve lived without shame. And so I made a decision. To live proudly as Cho Min rather than as the daughter of former minister Cho Kuk.”
— Cho Min, former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s daughter, February 6, 2023
When Kim asked how she felt about complaints that a forged certificate of merit allowed someone as unqualified as her to go to college and even become a doctor, Cho replied:
“A certificate of merit doesn’t make you a doctor. In the areas that were required for admission, my grades were sufficient, and some were more than sufficient.” 
Regarding her skills as a doctor, she said she had been told that she had “more than enough”  of the right “qualities”.
She also mentioned her public Instagram account and said that she’d welcome people to follow her.
A slew of encouraging comments appeared under the video, not only complimenting her confidence but also her looks. The number of her followers on Instagram also skyrocketed from about 10,000 to over 80,000 overnight.
But there was criticism as well. Chung Yu-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil who is currently serving a prison sentence for the massive corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye, posted on her Facebook page:
“What was so lacking in my qualifications as an equestrian that your father had to do all that to me? Thanks for a good laugh. Will people sneer more at you or at me? Is it more unfair for you or for me?
What is unfair is that you’re still a doctor and the Democratic Party, with their strange logic of doing only what suits them, say that my medal from the Asian Games is still valid while my equestrian skills are false.
No matter what the leftists say, my medal is not a counterfeit.”
— Chung Yu-ra, daughter of Choi Soon-sil, February 6, 2023
Political commentator Chin Jungkwon, who became a vocal critic of Cho Kuk during the academic fraud scandal that led to Cho’s resignation as justice minister, also commented, “Like father, like daughter. She has inherited not only his face but also his thick skin. … She says she has a clean conscience, which is absurd.” 
In response to Cho’s interview, Roh Hwan-Kyu, former chairman of the Korea Medical Association, reposted the statement that some doctors issued in September 2019:
“Former justice minister’s daughter says, ‘I have a clear conscience’ even though she went to college and medical school by forging various documents for admission.
I recall once again the statement we released in September 2019:
‘Minister of Justice Cho Kuk’s daughter Cho Min must be expelled from school!’
A human life has a noble value that cannot be measured in numbers. And medicine is a profession that handles human life. One whose life is in danger may live or die depending on which medical practitioner they meet. Accordingly, becoming a medical professional, especially a doctor, requires a rigorous and arduous training process, and a high level of ethical and moral standards are also required for the pre-meds preparing to become medical professionals.
However, it was revealed that Cho Min, the daughter of Minister of Justice Cho Kuk, used fraudulent papers (fake authorship registration), a fabricated certification of merit, and a fabricated resume to enter Pusan National University School of Medicine and embarked on her future path through fraudulent methods. And even now that everything has been clearly revealed through investigations, she still maintains the status of a prospective doctor.
Forging a certificate of merit is an obvious crime, and the judiciary is responsible for doling out the punishment for that. However, regardless of this, it is a serious problem that a person who has committed a grave violation of the minimum ethical level required for a prospective medical professional is still maintaining the qualifications of a prospective medical professional.
Accordingly, Korean doctors, who wish for a country where justice is implemented and common sense prevails, strongly demand that the educational institutions in question expel Cho Min, the daughter of the Minister of Justice, who has embarked on the path to be a doctor in an unjust way.
— Roh Hwan-Kyu, former chairman of the Korea Medical Association, February 6, 2023