KWANGJU UPRISING PDF

Ahn Jong-cheo l. A major challenge to Third World nations pursuing democratization since the s has been the problem of "settling the past" gwageo cheongsan , that is, how the newly established democratic government would approach the human rights violations committed by the previous authoritarian regimes. Though Korea has succeeded to some extent in building a democratic system, it still has not fully come to terms with parts of its modern history. In the nation-building that followed liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the special act on which was intended to punish pro-Japanese forces and collaborators who worked for the colonial Japanese authorities was rescinded after a short time, failing to bring to justice those who would subsequently form the core of the Syngman Rhee regime.

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On May 18, , President Chun Doo Hwan's hard-line military rule led to a confrontation in the city of Gwangju, located in the southwestern region of Korea. Shocked and angered by the indiscriminate shooting of tear gas and rubber bullets, workers, shopkeepers and parents took to the streets to defend their children. In the end, people were killed and hundreds wounded. The Gwangju Uprising gave birth to the national struggle for democracy in South Korea after decades of dictatorships following the Korean War.

The spirit and legacy of the Gwangju Uprising resonates today with Koreans all over the world in the global movement for democracy and human rights. Following the Korean War, the South Korean people discovered that democracy was not to be their reward. The United States viewed South Korea as integral to its strategic defense against Communism and supported any pro-US regime, regardless of its human rights record or views on democracy.

Thus, when Park Chung Hee took power through a military coup and instituted a military dictatorship from through , the US supported his government. President Park was assassinated in October of on a wave of pro-democracy student protests. After Park's death, South Korea went through a brief period of political liberalization but this liberalization was abruptly ended by a military coup d'etat on December 12, led by Chun Doo Hwan.

On May 18, , President Chun Doo Hwan's hard-line military rule led to a confrontation in the city of Gwangju, located south of Seoul. The uprising and bloodbath lasted from May 18 through May The Gwangju massacre became an important landmark in the struggle for South Korean democracy. According to reports, the uprising was triggered by student demonstrations on the morning of May 18 in defiance of the new military edict closing the universities and stifling any political dissent.

City police were unable to control the crowd so the military dispatched a Special Forces unit trained for assault missions to quell the protest. The troopers used tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to put down the uprising but still workers, shopkeepers, and parents took to the streets to defend their children. Then the military opened fire, killing dozens of people, and wounding hundreds more.

On May 20, some 10, people demonstrated in Gwangju. Due to heavily militarization, most major workplaces in South Korea had caches of weapons. Protesters seized these weapons, buses, taxis, and even armored personnel carriers, forming armed militias.

They fought against the army until finally, on May 21, the Special Forces withdrew and the city was left to the citizens. The next five days were unprecedented in Korean history.

Instead of trade, people shared. Massive communal meals for hundreds were cooked and distributed. Motor vehicles were handed out to keep the city safe and to create a new distribution system that depended on neither state nor capital.

On May 25, 50, people gathered for a rally and adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of martial law and the release of Kim Dae Jung, a leading pro-democracy political prisoner. The citizens were sure that the massacre and resultant victory would surely convince the United States to come to their aid.

Instead, the US, who held joint-command with the South Korean military, gave the military government the go-ahead to take troops closer to North Korean border to take back Gwangju. On May 27, at A. After light skirmishes, the army quashed the revolt in less than two hours. They arrested 1, rioters, of whom were detained for further investigation.

Lessons From Gwangju. According to later reports, nearly persons were killed, including 26 soldiers and policemen; of the more than civilians killed, only 17 died on the final day of assault. South Koreans were shocked that the government would use such brutal force against its citizens. Wickham, Jr. Clearly, the Gwangju Uprising had an enormous impact. It ignited the floundering pro-democracy movement in Korea culminating in when the People's Power movement finally broke the power of the South Korean military.

In Asia, first-hand accounts of the uprising were passed around Tiananmen Square in and Indonesia in Read more. Skip to main content.

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May 18th Gwangju People's Uprising

Hanahoe South Korean army. South Korean police. Estimates suggest that around 2, people have died. Support or denial of the Gwangju Uprising has long acted as a litmus test between conservative and far right groups and beliefs, and mainstream and progressive sectors of the population. The far right groups have sought to discredit the uprising.

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Trauma of South Korea's Gwangju Uprising lingers on

Kwangju Uprising , also called Kwangju Rebellion , Kwangju also spelled Gwangju , mass protest against the South Korean military government that took place in the southern city of Kwangju between May 18 and 27, Nearly a quarter of a million people participated in the rebellion. Although it was brutally repressed and initially unsuccessful in bringing about democratic reform in South Korea , it is considered to have been a pivotal moment in the South Korean struggle for democracy. After the country was governed for a brief period by a parliamentary system , a military coup led by Gen. Park Chung-Hee displaced the government in May Park became president the following year and remained in office for the next 18 years.

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Gwangju Uprising

On May 18, , President Chun Doo Hwan's hard-line military rule led to a confrontation in the city of Gwangju, located in the southwestern region of Korea. Shocked and angered by the indiscriminate shooting of tear gas and rubber bullets, workers, shopkeepers and parents took to the streets to defend their children. In the end, people were killed and hundreds wounded. The Gwangju Uprising gave birth to the national struggle for democracy in South Korea after decades of dictatorships following the Korean War.

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Kwangju Uprising

Demonstrators protesting against military dictator Chun Doo-hwan confronted his martial law troops on May 18, Official bodies point to around dead over the next 10 days - including some soldiers and police - and more than 70 missing, but activists say up to three times as many may have been killed. Those who died, Moon said "believed that those who will remain will open up a better world. They were convinced that today's defeat will turn to tomorrow's victory". Official bodies point to around dead - including some soldiers and police - and more than 70 missing, but activists say up to three times as many may have been killed.

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