This blog is not actively maintained any more. You can find links to all of the archived posts on the right side. The following introduction was written in June 2008.
DemocracyKorea.org is dedicated to the promotion and protection of democracy in the Republic of Korea (a.k.a. South Korea). The aim is to bring to your awareness the threats facing democracy in our beloved homeland, and to encourage all to help secure our rights and fragile political institutions.
The Republic of Korea is a sovereign nation in Northeast Asia. It is located between China, Japan, and North Korea; it has an area of 99,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles) and a population of 49 million. The Korean economy is the twelfth largest in the world, and per capita income is around $20,000 ($26,000 PPP) as of 2008.
Korea has been an independent state for most of the last 4,000 years, but the territory was occupied by Japan in the early part of the last century (1910-1945). After the end of the Second World War, Korea gained independence, but only to be divided into South and North. North Korea, under the rule of Kim Il-Sung and subsequently his son Kim Jong-Il, remains a communist autocracy to this day. South Korea, on the other hand, became a democratic republic with an elected president and representatives. The two Koreas fought a bitter war in the early 1950s, at the end of which a cease-fire was declared. Military tension between the two Koreas continues to this day.
This site is about the Republic of Korea. I mean the SOUTH. While our brother to the North has frequently made headlines with its oppression, famine, and nuclear program, it has been quite some time since the South had any major issues with freedom and human rights. To be sure, we’ve had our share of dictatorships in the 70s and 80s. Countless Koreans have shed warm blood with the hope of making our society free and equal. Those days, however, are considered by many to be history. We had won a great victory in 1987 when we finally put an end to military dictatorship. Since then, we have had two decades of free elections and peaceful changeovers of governments. The current President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak (a.k.a. 2MB), was elected in December 2007 with 49% of the popular vote, and he was sworn into office on February 25, 2008.
However, even after two decades, true democracy in our homeland remains illusive. Our tragic history continues to haunt us in the form of political leaders who have no regard for the People. Our People are must still risk prosecution when they voice dissenting opinions, though our law says that we have the right to free speech. The government has repeatedly responded with violence to our peaceful protests and candlelight vigils. The media, while not formally controlled by the government, form a silent cartel with those in power and censor any information the government finds uncomfortable, deceiving the People. Most of all, President Lee has shown absolutely no intention of listening to the People's voice. For him, the rest of us is only an object to be controlled for his ends. He has totally forgotten that we are the sovereign Masters of this country, and that he and his government are but our servants of our will.
But our will is nothing but weak. We have fought before; we are fighting now; and we will fight for freedom and equality until victory is finally ours. We are the People. We are the Masters of our own country, as our honorable Constitution declares. We will not tolerate infringements of our freedom and human rights. Now, we have but tiny candles in our hands. But we are many and we are strong. Without us, the Republic of Korea cannot exist.
This is by no means a problem only for Korea. You will certainly find parallels to situations in other countries. Feel free to share your thoughts with us. Wherever you are from, you are a Master of your country just as much as we are of ours. Please spread the word and join our online candlelight vigils. Democracy is a gift for every human being to enjoy.