November 30, 2021
Chun Doo-hwan (Korean: 전두환, / tɕʌn tuɦwɐn / → / tɕʌnduɦwɐn /), born January 18, 1931 in Naechonri, Korea and died November 23, 2021 in Seoul, is a South Korean general and statesman . He was President of the Republic from September 1, 1980 to February 24, 1988 after having overthrown his predecessor.
Chun was born on January 18, 1931 in Yulgok-myeon, a small and poor town in Hapcheon, South Gyeongsang province, during the Japanese imperial colonization of Korea. Chun Doo-hwan is the son of Chun Sang-woo and Kim Jeong-mun. Chun's two older brothers, Yeol-hwan and Kyuu-gon, die in an accident as a child. Around 1936, Chun's family moved to Daegu, where he joined the primary school in Horan. His father had been in conflict with the Japanese police in the past, and he killed a police officer in the winter of 1939. His family immediately fled to Jilin, China, where the family remained in hiding for two years before returning.
Coming from a peasant family, Chun Doo-hwan entered the Korean Military Academy in 1951 from which he graduated in 1955. He then served as command of the South Korean troops, engaged alongside the United States during of the Vietnam War. In February 1979, he was appointed head of the integrated command of the security forces.
Accession to power
After the assassination on October 26, 1979 of General Park Chung-hee, President of the Republic, by the head of the South Korean secret service Kim Jae-kyu (in), South Korea entered a brief phase of democratization, in which put an end to the military coup of December 12, 1979 that he led.
Having been appointed head of the South Korean Secret Service (KCIA) in April 1980, he proclaimed martial law throughout the country on May 17, 1980. He participated in the repression of the uprising in Gwangju which followed and which protested against it. extension of martial law. Thousands of demonstrators, students, trade unionists, are killed during the nine days of repression organized by the South Korean regime.
On May 20, 1980, he dissolved the National Assembly by deploying the army in it. Then he forced President Choi Kyu-ha to resign on August 16, 1980. He got rid of his potential rivals within the military administration, ordering the arrest of the Chief of Staff, on the spurious grounds of complicity in the assassination de Park, as well as about 20 politicians.
Having become the new strongman of the military regime, Chun Doo-hwan was elected president on August 27, 1980 by the National Conference for Reunification, a presidential election confirmed in February 1981.
The military regime of General Chun Doo-hwan is marked by the continuation of the South Korean “economic miracle”, characterized by high economic growth rates but also by high indebtedness and the repression of trade union movements. His reign is also marked by the widespread use of torture against dissidents and the repression of freedom of expression. On October 9, 1983, the Rangoon attack organized by North Korea against South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan at the Martyr's Mausoleum, near Shwedagon pagoda, killed 17 people in his entourage, including four ministers.
Despite the meeting of parliamentarians from the two Koreas on July 23, 1985, South Korea refused the North Korean proposal to co-organize the Olympic Games scheduled for Seoul in 1988. Driven by the students, the demonstrations for the democratization of the regime emphasized on the election of the President of the Republic by universal suffrage as well as on the departure of American troops from South Korea. Faced with the scale of protest movements, General Chun Doo-h