Discover three of Asia’s Republics–South Korea: Part 1 of 3

This three part series will focus on three Asian Republics: South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. All three are staunch allies of the United States. I will also compare these Asian republics to China.

The first republic will be South Korea, and 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 language for a dictatorship) from 1948 to 1987.

Then 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 in South Korea 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 that did not start and never was a democratic movement by the people of China.

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, China remained a one-party Republic with tight controls over the political influence of religions, which remains very unpopular with Christians.

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

Continued on January 15, 2014 in Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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