South Korea: does democracy work in Asia? Part 2 of 6

January 20, 2016

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 to explain 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 said, “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 grabbed 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 led the country until 2013 when Park Geun-hye, the first female president of South Korea was elected, and she is still in office.

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” until I was doing research for this post.

However, annually, the media and American politicians remind us of the so-called Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, which I wrote about 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?

Continued with Singapore on January 21, 2016 in Part 3 or return to Part 1

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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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2/6

September 28, 2011

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

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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?

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 1/6

September 27, 2011

The partnership between capitalism and multi-party democracies in Asia is a joy to behold.

After spending hours researching Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India and Taiwan, I understand why the West and America, in particular, keep pressuring mainland China to allow democracy to flourish.

The best way to discover what would happen to China if it were to become a parliamentary multi-party democracy is to look at the Asian democracies surrounding it, and we start with Japan.

In 2009, the Guardian said of Japan, “After more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted power, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been buried in a general election. Once before, in 1993, change came when a coalition of opposition parties briefly took power, but the LDP still held on to a majority in the Diet’s powerful lower house. This time … the center-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took more than 300 of 480 seats in the lower house. The LDP rules no more.”

The Guardian says the DPJ, which ended the five-decade rule of the LDP, was “funded to some degree by the US, (and) was put in place to marginalize all left-wing opposition. This involved some strong-arm tactics, especially against the unions…”

The trail of corruption in Japan is long.

Werner Pacha’s study of Corruption in Japan from an Economist’s Perspective says, “Ccorruption can quite simply be understood as the use of public office for private gains.”

Then Pacha reveals a series of scandals starting with the 1954 Shipbuilding Scandal, which contributed to the collapse of the Yoshida cabinet sending one person to prison of the 71 arrested.

Then there was the Lockheed Scandal of 1976, resulting in the arrest of Prime Minister Tanaka for having received payments from Lockheed (an American defense contractor) of about 500 million Yen.

In 1988-89, there was the Recruit Scandal, which concluded with the resignation of Prime Minister Takeshita on April 1989.

In 1991, the Kyôwa Affair, another scandal, included former Prime Minister Suzuki and Kyôwa, a steel-girder construction firm.

Briefly, there followed the Sagawa Kyûbin Scandal of 1991-1993, the Tax Evasion Scandal of 1993,  the Genecon Corruption Scandal of 1993, the Sôkaiya Scandals of 1997, and the 1996 – 1998 Scandals within the Elite Bureaucracy.

The CIA (in 2007) reported that 15.7 percent of the people in Japan lived below the poverty line. In comparison, only 2.8 (in 2007) percent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) live below the poverty line.

According to a chart on page 7 of his study, Pacha reveals that the multi-party democratic Republic of (South) Korea (RoK) is worse than Japan. South Korea’s democracy snapshot will appear tomorrow.

Continued on September 28, 2011 in A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Facts about Education — China and the world versus America – Part 3/3

July 30, 2011

Myth:  “American Universities Are Being Overtaken.” (concerning research and development)

ANSWER: “NOT SO FAST.”

Wildavsky says, Asia’s share of the world’s research and development (R&D) spending grew from 27 to 32% from 2002 to 2007, led mostly by China, India, and South Korea.

However, R&D spending worldwide massively surged in the last decade from $790 billion to $1.1 trillion, up 45 percent, and in 2007, the U.S. spent $373 billion (up from $277 billion in 2002) on R&D, which was very high by global standards totaling more than all Asian countries’ combined ($352 billion was spent on R&D in Asia).

Myth: “THE WORLD WILL CATCH UP”

ANSWER: “Maybe, but don’t count on it anytime soon.”

While the global academic marketplace is without doubt growing more competitive, the United States doesn’t have just a few elite schools as most of its foreign competition does, and the U.S. spends about 2.9 percent of its GDP on postsecondary education, about twice the percentage spent by China, the European Union, and Japan in 2006.

If this three part series of posts sparked a curiosity to learn more on this topic, I urge you to take the time and click over to Foreign Policy magazine‘s Website and read all of FP’s Think Again: Education written by Ben Wildavsky.  It’s always nice to discover the facts before you form an opinion or believe someone that does not know what they are talking about. After reading Wildavsky’s piece in FP, it is obvious that America’s schools are not failing and have never been failing and are actually either holding their own or slowly improving.

That doesn’t mean the US should stop working at improving the public education system.  It means that many of the opinions and claims you may read or hear are probably wrong and the key to improving education in the US rests with the parents and not the teachers.

Considering the handicaps and competition teachers in the U.S. public schools face from the average child/adolescent’s poor lifestyles choices while eating horrible diets along with lack of proper sleep and spending far too much time dividing his or her daily hours (more than 10 hours a day on average) watching TV, playing video games, social networking on sites such as Facebook, and sending endless text messages instead of reading and studying, the evidence says American teachers are doing an incredible job.

Return to Facts about Education – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


How a Unified Korea becomes a Win-Win for China and the U.S.

March 21, 2011

I subscribe to Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.  While finishing my morning exercise routine on the stationary bike, I read an essay written by Sung-Yoon Lee of Keeping the Peace: American in Korea 1950 – 2010.

Professor Lee is an adjunct assistant professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and an associate in research at the Korea Institute at Harvard University.

He writes of the pressure North Korea has applied on the United States to sign a peace treaty that might require US troops to leave South Korea.  Professor Lee feels this would be a mistake, and I agree.

He says, “It is important for Washington to hold quiet consultations with Beijing to prepare jointly for a unified Korea under Seoul’s direction, a new polity that will be free, peaceful, capitalist, pro-U.S. and pro-China.”

This is the first I’ve read anywhere in a Western media source (and Hillsdale College is decidedly conservative in its political stance, which I don’t always agree with) that it is possible a country could be both pro-U.S. and pro-China at the same time.

In fact, Hillsdale College is often anti-leftist (liberal) and anti-entitlement to the point that it has rejected accepting Federal aid even in the form of student scholarships since almost every entitlement dollar from the Federal government comes with strings.

By saying that a unified Korea under Seoul would be both pro-China and pro-U.S. admits China is not the evil dragon so many in the West believe.

When Mao ruled China, North Korea and Communist China seemed as if they were evil twins.  However, today that is not true. In the 1980s, China emerged as a hybrid one-party republic with term limits and age limits so one man would never rule the Middle Kingdom again as Mao did for 26 years.

China became a hybrid capitalist-socialist economy while politically it was an authoritarian one party republic guided by the 1982 Constitution.

Prior to 1911, there was the imperial aristocracy, a “small” middle class (with an emphasis on small) and a huge peasant class living in severe poverty with hard labor and short life spans.

Today, China’s middle class has reached about 300 million and almost 500 million are connected to the Internet, and China’s attempt at censorship does not totally control the flow of global information to those that want it who then share what was learned through Chinese Blogs and e-mails with friends, fans and family.

North Korea is frozen in time, but South Korea and China have evolved and adapted to the global economy.  It would be in China’s interest to see North Korea merge with South Korea and become a capitalist nation open to the world for trade.

In fact, China does more trade with South Korea than the North, which by all accounts is a burden since China often feeds many of North Korea’s citizens to avoid famine sending food grown in China that should have gone to Chinese consumers.

If Korea is unified under Seoul’s leadership, the threat of war in Korea will evaporate.

However, under Pyongyang’s leadership. Korea becomes a larger threat to both China and the US and more difficult to contain.

The US must maintain a military pretense in South Korea and I’m sure China agrees even if it never says so publicly since a war between Pyongyang and Seoul would not be in China’s interest economically.

Learn of China in 1950 Korea Protecting the Teeth

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


China Protecting its Teeth in 1950 Korea– Part 1/9

February 22, 2011

While searching Google for a Monroe Doctrine link, I stumbled on PCMS Social Studies and a post that appeared January 20, 2011.

Quote: “The Monroe Doctrine was put in place on December 2, 1823 by (President) James Monroe….   He did not want European Countries coming back and taking over the United States….  I know that I would definitely not want someone telling me I have to change the way I believe.”

China’s reaction was the same in 1950 when the People’s Liberation Army entered the Korean War.

Because Korea sat precariously between China, Russia and Japan, Korea had always been at the mercy of its bigger neighbors. For centuries, those nations had fought each other in Korea.

As World War II was ending, in July 1945, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin used his troops in coordination with the US to force the Japanese out of Korea. The Soviet and US armies met at the 38th parallel and agreed to divide Korea along that line.

The Soviets would control the northern half of Korea and the US the south.

While Soviet Russia and America were dividing the spoils of war in Europe and Asia, China was involved in a bloody civil war between the Communist and Nationalist Parties that would last until 1949

Prior to Japan occupying Korea in 1900, Korea had been a tributary state of China for centuries. However, China was in no shape to protest what Russia and the US was doing in Korea.

Two years later, the super powers left Korea leaving behind a Communist state in the north and a capitalist republic in the south ruled by a Korean authoritarian dictator educated at America’s Princeton University.

On June 5, 1950 at 4:00 AM, the Korean War started when North Korea declared war and invaded South Korea by land and sea.

Since the US had deprived South Korea of weapons and ammunition in fear that the south might invade the north and start a war, the North Korean army met little resistance.

The US strategy of restraint had backfired. South Korea had no weapons to defend itself. In two days, Seoul, the capital of South Korea fell to the invading army.

North Korea counted on America doing nothing. However, the majority of Americans in the US was outraged and demanded action, which caused President Truman to send in the United States air force while the US Navy bombarded Korea from the sea.

On July 19, 1950, President Truman called on the United Nations to act quickly and stop the aggression of Communist North Korea.

In the beginning, the US army was weak and far from Korea mostly in Europe. The huge American army that won World War II in 1945 had been disbanded resulting in a much smaller force.

In early July, 1950, an American brigade entered Korea and fought North Korean troops thirty miles south of South Korea’s captured capital of Seoul. The first battle didn’t go well for the US.

Learn about The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Barbara Walters on North Korea and China

November 29, 2010

Recently, Barbara Walters talked to President Obama about North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island near the DMZ.

Obama said South Korea was one of America’s most important alliances (in Asia), which has to be true since South Korea has many Christians (about a third of the population). It also has a strong open market, capitalist economy and a democratic government.

However, although China is considered North Korea’s only friend and ally, the two countries are different today.

First, China left the autocratic Maoist revolutionary form of government behind soon after Mao’s death.

Second, China is a republic that appears to be moving toward democracy and has an open market economy similar to South Korea’s.

I said in a previous post, “China’s reluctance to put public pressure on Pyongyang to step off the warhorse might be because the Chinese feel it would be like pressuring a family member.” Source: China and North Korea

That may no longer be the case.

Austin Ramzy writing for TIME says, “The news, delivered at a rare Sunday press conference, was that China was calling for emergency consultations between itself, North and South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Russia… it was a welcome call for calm by the North’s key ally.”

Many in the world should be glad of China’s relationship with the Hermit Kingdom. If it weren’t for China, there would be no one North Korea would listen to.

Walters also was in China with President Richard Nixon in 1972, and she paints a picture of China about thirty-eight years ago that vividly offers a contrast to today’s China.

Then in April 2009, Walters asked Jiang Zemin (China’s third president after Mao died) what happened to the famous “tank man” of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989.

Walters says, “Did you execute him? We heard he was arrested and executed.”

Zemin replied that he did not know what happened to the man. Then he said he thinks the man was never killed.

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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.

If you want to subscribe to look China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.