Cha Myong-jin (Korean: 차명진, born 14 August 1959) is a South Korean activist and politician from Liberty Korea Party (LKP). He served as a member of National Assembly from 2006 to 2012 at Sosa District of Bucheon, and also used to be the deputy parliamentary leader and spokesperson of Grand National Party, the predecessor of Liberty Korea Party.
Cha is a controversial figure accused of various hate speeches, as an example when he criticized the families of the victims of MV Sewol tragedy using harsh words.
Cha was born in Seoul in 1959 and attended for Yongmoon High School nearby Korea University. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Diplomacy and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Seoul National University. His father was a refugee from North Korea.
He was detained by the Agency for National Security Planning during the early 1980s and conscripted to Gangwon. After being discharged, he joined a labour movement where he met Kim Moon-soo, the leader of the labour movement who later became the Governor of Gyeonggi as well as whom he built a close relationship with him. He then became a member of Seoul Labour Movement Union following Kim, and subsequently led its Central Committee following the detention of Kim. During this time, he met Seo Myong-hui, also graduated from Seoul National University, and married in 1988.
Cha started his political career from the left-wing Popular Party in 1989 as the party’s chief in Guro 1st constituency. The party participated in legislative election in 1992 where it gained no seats and therefore was deregistered under the then electoral law abolished in 2014. According to JoongAng Ilbo, his ideology was shifted to right, from Marxism to social democracy, then capitalism during this time. Same went for Kim and both joined the right-leaning Democratic Liberal Party in 1994. Cha subsequently became an aide to Kim following the Kim’s election in 1996. He also assisted Lee Hoi-chang, the former presidential candidate and the Chairman of the now-defunct Grand National Party (GNP), as well as Sohn Hak-kyu, the ex-Governor of Gyeonggi and the predecessor of Kim.
Cha ran as the MP candidate for BucheonSosa following the resignation of Kim running for Gyeonggi governorship. He defeated Kim Man-soo of the ruling Uri Party with a high margin. He then became the deputy parliamentary leader of his party. He served as the GNP spokesman after his victory in 2008 election.
He became well known for 2 issues in 2010, one for known as “Emperor’s meal” and the another was when he brought an elaphe schrenckii into the National Assembly building.
On 20 August 2020, it was announced that Cha tested positive for COVID-19 after having attended an anti-government rally on 15 August.