A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2/6

When you discover the roller-coaster ride of corruption, protests, shootings/assassinations, and military coups/dictatorships that have taken place in the Republic of (South) Korea [RoK], it makes Japan look honest in comparison and provides more evidence of why the West and America, in particular, wants China to become a similar multi-party democracy.

On August 14, 1948, Syngman Rhee became the first president of the RoK. In May 1952, Rhee pushed through constitutional amendments, which made the presidency a directly elected position. To do this, he declared martial law, arrested opposing members of parliament, demonstrators, and anti-government groups.  In 1954, Rhee regained control of parliament by fraudulently pushing through an amendment that exempted him from the eight-year term limit.

Then in 1956,  Rhee’s administration arrested members of the opposing party and executed the leader after accusing him of being a North Korean spy.

The U.S. Department of State says, “President Syngman Rhee was forced to resign in April 1960 following a student-led uprising.”

The Second Republic under the leadership of Chang Myon ended one  year later when Major General Park Chung-hee led a military coup. Park declared martial law, dissolved the National Assembly and suspended the constitution, which resulted in mass protests and a return to democracy.

Park’s rule, which resulted in tremendous economic growth and development but increasingly restricted political freedoms, ended with his assassination in 1979, when a powerful group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Chun Doo-hwan, declared martial law and took power.

Then on May 18, 1980, students at Chonnam National University protested, which led to the Gwangju Massacre with estimates of the civilian death toll ranging from a few dozen to 2,000. Later, a full investigation by the civilian government reported nearly 200 deaths and 850 injured.

It wouldn’t be until October 1987 that a revised Constitution would be approved by a national referendum leading to the direct elections of President Roh Tae-woo in the first direct presidential election in 16 years.

In 1997, the country suffered a severe economic crises leading to the next civilian president, Roh Moo-hyun being impeached in March 2004 on charges of a breach of election laws and corruption. While under investigation for bribery and corruption, he committed suicide.

Roh’s successor was Lee Myung-bak, who was inaugurated in February 2008 and is still in office.

The CIA says 15% of the RoK’s population lives below the poverty line, while poverty in the United States in 2009 was 14.3%.

In August 2011, CBS reported that 20 percent of American children lived in poverty.

In fact, Homelessness in America remains an issue of deep concern. The American dream is a distant one for about 2.3 million to 3.5 million Americans that do not have a place to call home and about 1.35 million of the homeless are children.

Continued on September 29, 2011 in A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 3 or return to Part 1


SIDE NOTE: The Gwangju Massacre (1980) in The Republic of (South) Korea—a strong ally of the United States—is the second massacre “I never heard of” while writing this Blog.

However, annually, the media and American politicians remind us of the so-called Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, which I wrote of in The Tiananmen Square Hoax after learning from Wiki Leaks that a massacre never happened.

In addition, the protests in Beijing in 1989 were never a democracy movement, which was revealed by a BBC documentary. I wrote of this in What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

Then there was the first massacre “I never heard of” until I stumbled on it by accident while researching another post. I wrote of that massacre [by a strong ally of America] in the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan.

Why is it that the world knows so much about the Tiananmen Square Incident while hardly anyone knows about the Gwangju Massacre and the one in Taiwan?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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6 Responses to A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2/6

  1. How to Meditate…

    […]A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2/6 « iLook China[…]…

  2. merlin says:

    I believe one problem of travel, is that people BELIEVE they can get cheaper deals when traveling using a tour group, than traveling alone. Of course you can get cheaper entrance tickets possibly into tour sites and museums, but you dont get much time to actually experience anything. As for photo opportunities, I believe Tom has already proven that you get better pictures when you walk off the tourist path.

    I think people such as Rush would make excellent lawyers if they finish school. The opinions he instills in people he made based on his lifestyle. First, it seems university is what his PARENTS wanted. It’s probably where he got his rebellious nature because the young generation doesnt want the older generation messing with their lives. I THINK this comes about for 2 reasons. First, the parents are protective, and second….US culture changes as fast as technology. Kids not only want to be seen as “independent”, but they also feel that their parents dont understand today’s culture. Just like giving a 90 year old a new car to drive on Interstate 80. Not ALL seniors are bad drivers, but the ones that are can create accidents equally as the drunks.

    As for the audience being mostly middle aged….the young want rock music. The old have experience and knowledge and see talk radio as “a whipper snapper that talks too much BS.” As for being men and not women….Women tend to focus more on topics dealing with the home or their close network of friends. Men tend to focus more on politics and other topics that reach beyond the front doorstep.

  3. merlin says:

    I have tested your question by asking family and friends about it. First, they dont believe it and some say it never happened. Second, mention the name CHINA and the only response found is all negativity which clouds over all other facts. To me it appears that there is another country in the world that is BETTER at brainwashing their citizens than the DPRK.

    Is it possible that we say the DPRK brainwashes people even though we dont notice we are victims of brainwashing by our own leaders and media?

    Philosophically, I’d like to ask then what is an enemy when it appears that those we call enemies maybe know more about our country than we do? This is all why I support global travel so that people not only experience another part of the world, but can see for themselves the other side of the coin when they look back home.

    Out of curiousity, I wonder if Mr. Lofthouse has had any brush with the CIA. I understand that in the US freedom of speech protects everyone, but apparently those that manage a few meters past the warning sign in the Nevada desert are not as lucky when they are trying to quell their curiousity of ETs and flying UFOs.

    • Merlin,

      No brush with the CIA yet. At least, I don’t think so. After all, they are spies and into stealth. Maybe they are watching and tapping our phones, e-mail, etc. Who knows? Since I’m not a spy or a criminal of any kind, I have nothing to hide. They would have to frame me.

      As for freedom of speech–do we really have freedom of speech? We “may” have freedom of speech to say what we think about our government, religion, etc., but there have been incidents where the government (CIA, FBI,DIA, etc–who knows which government agency since there are so many of them) have used the IRS to go after people and ruin them. How many, I have no idea. I do know of one famous case, and I have heard of others.

      During the McCarthy Red Scare era, the famous mystery author Dashell Hammett would be a victim of the government and then the IRS.

      “Hammett dedicated himself to left-wing political involvement and the defense of civil liberties. During World War II, at the age of forty-eight, Hammett enlisted as a private in the army. Three years later, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Leaving the army, he began to teach writing in New York at a Marxist institute. It was then that Hammett’s political integrity would be challenged. As the president of New York Civil Rights Congress, Hammett had posted bail for a group of communists on trial for conspiracy. When they jumped bail, Hammett was jailed for refusing to give the names of the sources of the bail money. After serving five months in prison, he was let out, only to find that the IRS was charging him with one hundred thousand dollars in back taxes.” Source: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/dashiell-hammett/about-dashiell-hammett/625/

      “During the years between 1940s and 1950s, the American government was extremely anti-communist. This period is known as the McCarthy Era, coined after Senator Joe McCarthy, who led the hunt for communists. Hammett was suspected of being a communist. In 1951, he was called to testify in court against some of his colleagues alleged to be communists. He refused to do so, which resulted in him being sentenced to six months in prison.”

      Read more at Suite101: Dashiell Hammett, Crime Writer: American Author Famous for Novels Thin Man and Red Harvest | Suite101.com http://telasiado.suite101.com/dashiell-hammett-crime-writer-a55252#ixzz1ZLUSdxDr

      Hammett was a mystery writer but made much of his money writing screenplays for Hollywood movies. After he ended on Senator McCarthy’s Black List, he could not get a job in Hollywood and when the IRS was done with him he was broke and ruined. The only thing that saved him was his love affair with Lillian Hellman, who was also a famous writer and wealthy because of her fame. She stood by her man and gave him a place to live and fed him to the end when he died an alcoholic and a broken man in 1961.

      So much for “freedom of speech” and protection from our government for what we say or believe. If an individual goes against what is considered politically correct by the powerful and rich, he or she may end up with a visit from the IRS and once the IRS decides you owe them money, they can take just about everything you own and leave you “almost” homeless, so I keep very detailed records when it comes to my tax returns.

    • Merlin,

      I agree that more people (especially Americans) should travel to other countries such as China. However, they need to escape the seven-to-ten day “always in a hurry” tour group to have a chance to meet people and see more of the country than the next photo opportunity. Another reason this may not happen is the number of Americans that can afford to travel that far. Many do not have the money or time and form opinions from listening to talk radio, which is mostly conservative such as the radio show hosted by Rush Limbaugh.

      An example of what I mean, “LIMBAUGH SAID: By the way, just to be clear, folks, still not certain here whether Harry Reid meant his comment about the ChiComs being a dictatorship in a derogatory or complimentary way. I mean, China is an authoritarian, collectivist dictatorship, but we don’t know that Dingy Harry would necessarily find any fault with that. He seems to be in support of that kind of — and we certainly know Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times love the authoritarianism of the ChiComs.”

      Source: http://mediamatters.org/research/201101190044

      How educated is Rush Limbaugh, the man that influences tens of millions of Americans with his number one talk radio show?

      Here is the answer: “Limbaugh graduated from Cape Girardeau, Missouri Central High School, in 1969. Because of his parents’ desire to see him attend college, he enrolled in Southeast Missouri State University but left the school after two semesters and one summer. According to his mother, “he flunked everything”, and “he just didn’t seem interested in anything except radio.”

      Curious about what Rush Limbaugh may read (if he reads). Amazon has a potential list, and Limbaugh is one of the most influential and powerful voices in America helping his “ditto heads” (what he calls his audience) think because he often says he will do the thinking for them.


      The audience for talk radio is mostly male, middle-aged and conservative.

      And the talk radio audience that embraces such obvious misinformation from talk radio does not make them conservative, though they may end up behaving that way. The problem is that conservative hosts are able to harness a daily format that is convenient to listen to almost anywhere.

      More worrisome for our nation’s political culture is that many who embrace conservative politics come from a place of idealism, which is channeled destructively by talk radio hosts because the listeners don’t know the facts and won’t spend the time to find out.

      One only has to grasp a few facts about the radio business to understand why conservative radio is so powerful and why. In 1987 when the Reagan administration ended the Fairness Doctrine, the cultural landscape was such that many conservatives felt underserved by the mainstream media.

      Source: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/03/ta031110.html

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