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Kwangju uprising, milestone in reunification movement

(1) Kwangju Popular Uprising, May 1980

By Choe Yong Nam

It has been 40 years since the popular uprising was staged in Kwangju, south Korea.

On May 18 1980, students and other young people and citizens of Kwangju rose up against the outrages of the Chun Doo Hwan military junta that tried to nip the democracy, which was brought forth in the wake of the overthrow of the Yushin dictatorship, in the bud by force of arms and maintain and prolong despotism.

The resistance involving a total of over one million people from all walks of life, including youth and students, workers, farmers, religionists and entrepreneurs in and around the city, rapidly spread to the vast areas of North and South Jolla provinces.

Much astonished by this, the Chun Doo Hwan fascist clique issued an order to "clamp down on the revolt with an iron fist" and committed more than 70 000 troops and lots of tanks, other armoured vehicles, cannons and even aircraft and missiles to the crackdown.

At that time, the Chun clan blockaded the city, branded the uprising as a "riot of impure elements" and the citizens as "rioters" and administered hallucinogens to paratroopers to get them to slaughter more than 5 000 resistants and wound over 14 000, saying they "may kill 70 percent of Kwangju citizens".

The Kwangju uprising marked a historic landmark representing a milestone in south Korean people’s struggle against dictatorship and for independence, democracy and reunification.

(2) Kwangju Popular Uprising, May 1980

At present, however, derogatory remarks distorting the history and spirit of the May 18 democracy movement are still being uttered in south Korea.

Ultra-rightists denigrate the popular uprising as a "riot" and the victims as "monsters created by north-following leftists". Chun Doo Hwan who is the true culprit of the Kwangju massacre impudently denied the heinous crime once again at the Kwangju district court on April 27 this year.

Therefore, south Koreans of all social standings are now expanding the struggle to reveal the truth behind the massacre and bring to justice those who distort history.

They have decided to form a May 18 fact-finding committee and launch into a probe into the bloodbath on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the May 18 democracy movement this year.

Meanwhile, relevant and other organizations have determined to undertake intense activities for a probe into the truth about the May 18 uprising in all parts of south Korea including Kwangju.

Political as well as public figures are raising voices against Chun, asserting that "he will go down in history forever as a criminal".

(Pyongyang Times - May 17, 2020)

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