Former South Korean military dictator Chun Doo-hwan dies

Chun Doo Hwan, once Autocratic ruler The South Korean president, who came to power through a military coup and oversaw the brutal suppression of democratic protesters during his reign in the 1980s, died on Tuesday. He is 90 years old.

The legacy of the former dictator depends on his ruthless behavior, but also on his unapologetic denial and expression of no regrets long after the country became a prosperous democracy. In the mid-1990s, he was prosecuted and sentenced to death for grabbing power and bloody military repression.spring Later pardoned.

According to his former spokesperson, Chun, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma earlier this year, passed out at his home in Seoul early on Tuesday morning. At the time of his death, he still owed more than 80 million U.S. dollars in damages, which the prosecutor said was corrupt ill-gotten gains.He refused to pay, claiming that he had only 291,000 won-less than $250-but the prosecutor continued to trace and search for assets, including Some hidden in the U.S.

For many Koreans, Chun remains a provocative symbol of the painful chapter of Korean modern history. He was a member of the military government under the leadership of General Park Jeong-hee in 1961 and played a key role during Park’s two-year dictatorship over the country until he was assassinated in 1979. After the death of Park Jeong-hee, he took over control of the army, declared martial law and assumed the presidency.

The reign of Park Hwa-jeon was also a period of rapid economic development and industrialization in South Korea. The country’s industry was booming and exports continued to increase. At the same time, under their authoritarian rule, dissidents and student activists who called for democratic reform were kidnapped, tortured or disappeared.

His most enduring notoriety is The military’s violent suppression of civilian uprisings It was in Gwangju in May 1980. The troops under his command opened fire on the protesting crowds, many of them students, causing hundreds of deaths. The United States’ non-intervention and acquiescence to Quanjun’s rule triggered a wave of anti-American sentiment and protests that continue to this day.

“His rule is more illegal and violent than any other president,” said Choi Jin, who ran the Presidential Leadership Academy in Seoul and reported on the deaths of civilians in Gwangju in the late 1980s. “Until the last few days of his life, there was no personal apology, let alone a political apology. There were so many casualties, but there was not even a trace of regret.”

In 1993, South Korean riot police used tear gas to disperse students.

On May 28, 1993, South Korean riot police used tear gas to disperse students on the streets of Sinchon. The students gathered to protest the alleged involvement in the 1980 Gwangju Massacre by former Presidents Noh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.

(Kim Jae-hwan/AFP/Getty Images)

Quan was born in 1931 in a poor but well-educated family in Hamcheon, in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula. He graduated from the Korean Military Academy and later spent a year in the American Military Academy as a young officer.

During the dictatorship of Park Geun-hye, he was closely involved in Park Geun-hye’s security affairs and formed a small group of military school graduates, who later helped him usurp power.

In May 1980, a few months after his reign, Quan Ren declared total martial law, arrested opposition figures and student leaders, and closed the National Assembly. Protests demanding free elections and ending authoritarian rule have sprung up all over the country; in Gwangju, our province, the respected opposition leader Kim Dae-jung, who later became the president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, triggered fierce protests. Spread to the central square. Military special forces besieged the city and swept in, opening fire on the citizens in the bloody suppression.

Despite the suppression, street demonstrations and student activism calling for democracy continued to increase during Jun Jun’s administration. In 1987, after the announcement of indirect elections for his carefully selected successor, a particularly widespread and intense protest was triggered. Chun acquiesced and allowed direct elections, which marked a watershed in South Korea’s road to democracy.

In 1995, he was charged with charges related to the coup d’état, killings in Gwangju, and bribery along with the former military commander Lu Tae-woo, who participated in the coup and won universal suffrage in 1987. Chun’s final death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, and later Be pardoned.

Although he was convicted in the country’s Supreme Court, Jeon insisted in his later years that the repression of Gwangju was a legal military action, and he did not order indiscriminate killings. He wrote a three-part memoir with such denials in 2017 and was sued for defamation for rebutting a late pastor’s statement that protesters were shot by helicopter. He was found guilty but sentenced to probation.

His public stance is in sharp contrast with Roh Moo-hyun, who is basically unknown to the public and pays tribute to those killed in Gwangju through his son.Luo Died in October.

“Through continuous lies and distortions, they are all deceiving the Korean people and the legal system, using his memoirs to insult and belittle the deceased, rather than regret or apologize,” an association of people who lost their families in Gwangju said in a statement on Tuesday. “He has always offered only sad excuses and evaded responsibility.”

Chun’s wife, three sons and a daughter survived.

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