POL202(4) Handout

POL202(4) Handout - POL 202(4): Political Development in...

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POL 202(4): Political Development in Northeast Asia: Democratization in South Korea and Taiwan South Korea and Taiwan have generated active and effective grass-roots political participation in shaping modern democratic systems, mostly directed against their own authoritarian ruling regimes South Korea (Republic of Korea) At the end of World War II, Korea was divided between the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. In 1948, the U.S. established the capitalist Republic of Korea, or South Korea, while the USSR set up the communist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea The ceasefire produced by the Korean War (1950-1953) guaranteed the continued division of the Korean peninsula and the existence of the U.S.-backed regime of Syngman Rhee, an anti- Japanese nationalist. Using the excuse of suppressing communism in South Korea, President Rhee expanded the powers of the secret police, exercised tight control over the trade unions and mass media, and used fraud to buy votes Government oppression only strengthened the rebelliousness of the opposition forces, which included groups of students, professors, industrial workers, and radical members of the church. Rhee was toppled by a student revolt in 1960 In 1961, General Park Chung Hee seized power in a military coup and made himself president later. He argued in typical authoritarian fashion that industrial development and economic growth required political order and social stability, which only he and his government was able to provide. Park was assassinated in 1979 The army’s bloody suppression of a major demonstration in the city of Kwangju in 1980 gave birth to a massive underground opposition network using the “Kwangju Massacre” as a rallying cry against the regime of General Chun Doo Hwan, who seized power In 1987, after agreeing to a revision of the constitution, Chun retracted his promise. Thousands of student demonstrators, joined by members of the middle class, took to the streets in violent protest 1
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Preparations for the 1988 Seoul Olympics increasingly placed the government under scrutiny from the international community. Not wishing to jeopardize the Olympics or the world’s respect for him, Chun agreed to a compromise worked out between retired general Roh Tae Woo and opposition leader Kim Young Sam to free imprisoned opposition leader Kim Dae Jung and lift government restrictions over the media In the presidential election of December 1987, both Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung decided to run for president. This split the vote for the opposition, leading to the victory of the government candidate, Roh Tae Woo Kim Young Sam secured Roh’s support to contest the 1992 presidential election and won
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSCI 000 taught by Professor Hongkong during the Fall '07 term at Mary Washington.

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POL202(4) Handout - POL 202(4): Political Development in...

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