Oh, Kwangju, the Cross of Our Nation
From Park’s Dictatorship to Chun’s dictatorship (Robinson, p.140)
Political Cleavage: Authoritarianism vs. Democracy and Korea-US Relations
I. The Kwangju Uprising and massacre (May 18-27)
Assassination of Park in October in 1979, Choi Gyuha as president
Competition and disagreements among various security agencies
KCIA, the Army Security Command (ASC), and the Presidential Security Services (PSS).
II. A Protective military coup beginning in Dec 1979
III. Chun’s expansion of power, martial law on May 17
After 17 years of rule under President Park, Korean citizens demanded democracy
Another military coup with a bloody crack-down of civilian uprising in Kwangju
Peaceful demonstrations by students and citizens
Demands for democratization: Repeal martial law, clarify the democratization schedule,
release King DJ, Chun DH must go
Paratroopers (airborne troops, special warfare troops, special loyalty to General Chun) trained in
unconventional anti-guerilla warfare, bayonets from the very ﬁrst day of operation
not just Kwangju protesters as victims, also the troops: forced to take orders, not aware of
what they were doing when they were shooting down their own citizens as dogs.
~500 civilians dead, 3,000 injured, many missing people with bodies not recovered.
initial protest, initial violent shooting as crackdown, protesters become armed, try to
negotiate, but it didn’t work very well, most people left the city hall and those who decided to
stay were pretty much all killed.
IV. First Assembly Hearing of 1988
ﬁrst assembly hearing after, diﬀerent oﬃcials investigated, but responded with “i don’t know” or “i
don’t really know what happened from coup forces, because of refusal to testify, so everything that
we know is from the Gwangju citizens.
key thing in the investigation of Kwangju and assembly hearing: who ordered? but we
don’t really know too well because all of them refused to testify.
Media control by Chun Administration
said that “rioters, mobsters” aﬃliated with NK was the reasoning for riots
The Truth of Kwangju: Juergen Hinzpeter (German journalist, Tokyo correspondent) Germany,
lynched by the riot police in Seoul, 1986
didn’t die from the lynching
Passed Away in 2005
got in, videotaped a lot of footage that we can see. Sent videotapes hidden in some
places, and took them to Japan. Footage edited in Japan by co-journalist and then
sent to Germany and broadcasted in German television news.
Koreans living in Germany recorded, edited, hid in suitcases, brought it back to Korea