The Acts of the Democracies

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1980

South Korea

Chun Doo Hwan, the USA backed leader of South Korea, uses military force to crush a demonstration by students and workers in Kwangju. The people were protesting against martial law, arrests of dissidents and their families, fraudulent elections and torture. The death toll is estimated in the thousands.

A spokesman from the USA State Department says: "Our situation, for better or worse, is that Korea is a treaty ally, and the USA has a very strong security interest in that part of the world". A year later, USA president, Ronald Reagan, would toast Chun with the words: "You've done much to strengthen the tradition of 5000 years' commitment to freedom". In 1996, a Korean court would convict Chun for the massacres in Kwangju.

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