Republics of Asia — Part 1/3

This three part series will focus on three Asian Republics — South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, which will be compared to China. All three are staunch allies of the United States.

The first report will be on South Korea.

In 1998, the BBC News produced a special report on South Korea: A Political History.

With US support, Syngman Ree was the President of the “Republic” of South Korea in the 1950s until April 1960. His government was autocratic and the country had limited political freedom.

In fact, South Korea would be an autocratic state with limited political freedom (fancy words for a dictatorship) from 1948 to 1987.

There was a military coup in 1961 and General Park ruled until he was assassinated in 1979.

Mao ruled China eight years longer than Park Chung Hee ruled South Korea.

In 1980, martial law was declared after the army killed 200 during student demonstrations. Recently, South Korea’s constitutional court upheld a controversial military ban (censorship) on 23 books considered subversive. Source: Time

However, the Western media seldom reminds us of those democracy demonstrations in South Korea. 

Instead, we are annually reminded of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident in China.

Of course, it helps to forget the 1980 killings when South Korea is now the world’s second largest source of Christian missionaries (after the United States) with a government that favors Christianity.

I wonder if China’s government suddenly decided to favor Christianity, would we stop hearing about the students killed in Tiananmen Square.

It wouldn’t be until 1986 that South Korea’s constitution was changed and in December 1987, Roh won the first direct presidential election since 1971. The first free parliamentary elections took place in 1988.

China revised their Constitution in 1982. Instead of becoming a democracy that favors Christianity, China remained a one-party Republic with tight controls over the political influence of religions, which remains very unpopular with the Christian majority in the West.

South Korea ranks 39th among 178 countries when it comes to corruption. China ranks 79th and we often hear about corruption in China but little about South Korea and the hundred countries with more corruption than China. Source:

Discover more about the Two Republics of America and China.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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5 Responses to Republics of Asia — Part 1/3

  1. glenda says:

    Why don’t we ever hear about this in the news?

    • Because Singapore, Thailand and South Korea are not ruled by a communist party and it’s difficult for international corporations to buy off those leaders. They can bribe plenty of city and regional politicians in China, but it’s almost impossible to buy the top leaders in China

  2. […] A great video and history of how far South Korea has come in the last 50 years can be found on this blog […]

  3. […] A great video and history of how far South Korea has come in the last 50 years can be found on this blog […]

  4. Thank you for highlighting Korea and its history. It is an amazing country and it should have more global exposure!

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