Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wikipedia Assignment

Hello. I expanded on two articles, the Gwangju Democratization Movement and Park Chung Hee. I also edited the Busan National University page, but that isn't really connected to our class.

Under the Gwangju Democratization Movement, I added some information about the drivers for democracy, which was a parade of taxis, buses, trucks and cars that drove in support of the movement. Many of the drivers were beaten as a response. Then they started using the vehicles as weapons to protect the citizens and/or block/hurt troops.. it was a vicious cycle. When you see pictures of the movement, you often see the taxis and trucks. They seemed like a major part of the movement, but when I was doing research, no one really mentioned them. So I added some info about them on Wikipedia.

"On the night of May 20, hundreds of taxis led a large parade of buses, large trucks and cars toward the Provincial Office to meet the protest. As the drivers drove in the demonstration, the troops used tear gas, pulled them out of the cars and beat them. These “drivers of democracy” showed up to support the citizens and the demonstration because of troop brutality witnessed earlier in the day, as well as out of anger after many taxi drivers were assaulted when trying to assist the injured and while taking people to the hospital. Some were even shot after the drivers attempted to use the vehicles to block soldiers or as weapons. [2]"

I also added a small paragraph about the impact of the movement under Aftermath. I said it was assumed the US knew about the troop dispatch because I am trying to avoid being deleted. If I say they DID know, it will be deleted. If I say the Koreans insisted they knew though they did not, it would be deleted. I was trying to be more impartial. It WAS assumed right? Isn't that why there is an argument at all? If it was not assumed then no one would be talking about it. I will probably get deleted anyway. (I don't know why the font here is crazy. Sorry.)

The Gwangju Democratization Movement had a profound impact on South Korean politics and history. Chun Doo-hwan suffered popularity problems because he took power through a military coup, but after authorizing the dispatch of Special Forces upon citizens, his legitimacy was significantly damaged. The United States was previously seen as a liberator and protector, but the Gwangju Democratization Movement changed the image of the U.S. because it was assumed the United States knew ahead of time about the dispatch of special troops and sat idly as civilians were killed. The American image was further damaged when the U.S. continued to support Chun Doo-hwan through the 1980s. However, the movement also paved the way for later movements in the 1980s that eventually brought democracy to South Korea. The Gwangju Democratization Movement has become a symbol of South Koreans' struggle against authoritarian regimes and their fight for democracy."


Then I ended up modifying the Park Chung-hee article because I wanted to talk about some of the democratization movements that came before Gwangju. I took the information from Contentious Kwangju, which was one of our assigned readings for the Gwangju discussion week. I added the section
Unpopularity Stemming from Authoritarianism and the Yushin System.

The growth of the South Korean economy secured a level of support for the Park Chung-hee presidency in the 1960s, but that support started to fade after economic growth started slowing and because of the authoritarian measures taken by Park. By the late 1970s, demonstrations against the Yushin system erupted throughout the country indicating Park’s rising level of unpopularity.

One example of a demonstration that hurt Park’s popularity was the “YH Incident” in August 1979. At the YH Trading Company a group of young female textile workers held a sit-in strike at the headquarters of the main opposition party in protest of massive layoffs. The government responded by sending riot police to suppress the demonstration, leaving one female worker dead and others injured. This example of excessive force against the people contributed to Park’s unpopularity.

Another demonstration that hurt Park’s popularity was the “Pu-Ma struggle.” On October 16, 1979, student demonstrations calling for the end of dictatorship and the Yushin system began at Busan National University and moved into the streets of the city. Students and the riot police fought all day, and by the evening, 50,000 people had gathered in front of the city hall. After several public offices were attacked and around 400 protesters were arrested, the government declared martial law in Busan on October 18. On October 18, the protests spread to Masan. Students from Kyungnam University in Masan also participated in protests, which spread and resulted in 10,000 mostly students and workers joining the struggle against the Yushin System. They began attacking the police station and city offices of the ruling party, and a city-wide curfew was put into place[5].

The rising unrest in the public contributed to the sense of urgency in the government, and hence, to Park Chung-hee’s assassination."

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