"On November 1st, 2014, A symposium was held to review the historical value of Seodaemun Prison and to see if it is possible to register as a UNESCO World Heritage Site."
This is the last major news I've heard regarding Seodaemun Prison
. For advocates of this aspiring nomination, they envision a successful world heritage bid which models its bid on Auschwitz and Robben Island. There is no other surviving location in Korea that held so many pro-independent dissidents and leaders during the Japanese Colonial Period. Yet, the history is complex, after liberation (1945) the authoritarian governments that followed in South Korea also used the prison to jail dissidents until the 1980's!
Japan, as we've seen this year (delayed payment of dues), is being pressed on its colonial history, primarily by Korea and China. Lately, Japan has begun pushing back in regards to both world heritage nominations (Meiji sites) and the Memory of the World register (Nanjing + Comfort Women).
if Japan can finally push Meiji sites to be a WHS, is it going to speed up Seodaemun Prison nomination to counter Japan?
Therefore, for Korea to eventually pursue a Seodaemun Prison nomination, Japan will surely see political scheming and have strong inhibitions to any testament to perceived Japanese crimes against humanity. Regarding China, there have been some explorations of a joint nomination with Seodaemun Prison and related sites in China, but how far this has progressed is unclear.
Might China quite like to give S Korea a little "assist" on this one?
Current Plans WHS or Not: "We plan to launch a project to restore the prison into its original state by 2022. The city's restoration plan is part of its project to create a "hill of independence" in the region surrounding the park by setting up memorial facilities and exhibition halls to honor the spirit of patriotic ancestors and to help educate people about history."
Since Korea plans some form of tentative list update in 2017, I suppose we'll know if Seodaemun Prison is still being pursued or not. Currently, it seems the Cultural Administration of Korea (CHA) is pursuing less controversial nominations like: Ruins of the Hanseong-Baekje
[Extension] , Jeju Island
[Extension], Royal Academies: Sungkyunkwan
, Busan Provisional Capital Heritage
(14 components), Catholic Heritage and Martyr Sites