A Korean in Mongolia - Dr. Lee Tae-Joon
Par Collaborateurs réguliers
Lee Tae-Joon (1883~1921) who devoted his life to the independence movement of Korea, was discovered and honored after his death.
On June 3, 2010, an event meaningful to Koreans, took place in the Memorial Park of Lee Tae-Joon in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It was organized by the State Veterans Affairs (Korea), Yonsei University Health System and the Korean Embassy in Mongolia.
The Lee Tae-Joon Memorial House, established to remember an activist who had fought for the independence of Korea throughout his life, is open to Mongolians and visitors from all over the world.
Although most Koreans have neither heard his name nor about his achievements in modern Korean history, the Mongolian government poured its effort into honoring him in public by offering land (approximately 6,600 square meters) to build the memorial park for him in 2001.
In addition to completing the project, Yonsei University Health System and the Alumni Association of the College of Medicine in Yonsei University raised funds and collaborated with both the Mongolian Yonsei Hospital and the Korean Embassy in Mongolia.
Who is Lee Tae-Joon?
In 1883, Dr. Lee was born in the town named Haman, Gyungsangnamdo and graduated from the medical school of Severance Hospital (today, it’s called Yonsei University) in 1911. Inspired by the activist named ****Ahn Chang-Ho, who devoted his life to the Independence movement, he decided to join a group of activists for the Korean independence movement based in China.
**** Ahn Chang-Ho (1878~1938) was an activist for the Korean Independence movement, an educator and a politician.
He then relocated to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to be near the base of the independence movement for Mongolia, China and Russia, and to set up his own medical practice.
He opened a hospital, which cofunctioned as the base to correspond with the activists in Russia and China. In 1920, when the Lenin government of Russia donated part of the funds to the movement of Korean independence, Dr. Lee became the bridge between the two countries by carrying gold with his colleagues.
Unfortunately, this activity caused his untimely death in the end. He was assassinated during the operation as an activist in 1921 when he was only 38 years old.
Why is he still remembered by Mongolians?
In the late 19th century, when Dr. Lee opened his hospital, there were no medical practices or hospitals whatsoever in Mongolia. Besides, because Mongolia had changed dramatically from being a nomadic society to a more settled one, epidemics, especially venereal disease, had spread to 70 - 80% of the people.
His medical practice to help suffering Mongolians contributed to stopping the epidemic diseases being spread and consequently saving hundreds of thousands of lives. In recognition for his medicine, he became the royal physician to the last King of Mongolia. He was honored with a National Medal by Khan Bogda in July 1919.
Lee Tae-Joon was a great doctor who contributed his medical knowledge to people of all nationalities and races. In spite of offering his humanitarian love throughout his life, for a long time he wasn’t acknowledged in public. After the documents showing Dr. Lee’s achievement were discovered, he was honored with the National Medal in 1990 by the Korean government.
Since July 2001, all the visitors to Ulaanbaatar have seen two flags in the center of the tourist attraction; one is the national flag of Mongolia and the other is Korean.
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It borders on Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Its political system is a parliamentary republic, and their population was recorded to be about 3,086,918 in July 2010.
Ulaanbaatar is the capital city of Mongolia. 90% of Mongolians speak Khalkha Mongol and also use Turkish and Russian based on research in 1999. The major (94.9%) ethnic group is Mongolian (Khalkha) living with 5% of Turks (Kazakh) and others (0.1%), including Russians and Chinese.
Religions: Buddhist (Lamaist) (50%) + Shamanist or Christian (6%) + Muslim (4%) + None (40%). Internet users: 330,000 (as of 2008), Internet country code: . mn.