Former South Korean president known as military dictator dies at 90


Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, remembered as a dictator whose path to power was paved by a presidential assassination and military coup, died on Monday at the age of 90.

As was reported by The Korea Herald, South Korea’s largest English-language newspaper, Chun died at his home in Seoul. He had suffered from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, though he was in remission when he died, according to his former press aide.

Educated and trained both in Korean schools and in the U.S., Chun rose to power, eventually taking advantage of a fragile government state following the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung-hee to carry out a military coup. He served as president from 1980 to 1988.

He is perhaps most well-known for his deadly response to pro-democracy demonstrations during the Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Chun’s crackdown on the demonstrators left hundreds dead and thousands more injured. The former president never apologized for his actions in the massacre.

Following his retirement, Chun was convicted of treason in 1996. He was ultimately sentenced to death, though this was later commuted to a life sentence before he received a presidential pardon the following year.

In the last few years of his life, Chun faced a defamation lawsuit for remarks he made about a Catholic priest in his 2017 memoir. As the Yonhap News Agency noted, Chun rejected court summons twice, claiming to have Alzheimer’s disease. At the time of his death, the case was still ongoing.

Tags Chun Doo-hwan Gwangju Uprising Korea Park Chung-hee Political repression in South Korea Presidents of South Korea South Korea

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