Chun will not be buried in the national cemetery: Ministry of Veterans

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Members of the public line the street outside the Severance Hospital mortuary in the Seodaemun district, west of Seoul, to pay their respects to late former President Chun Doo Hwan on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

The Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs announced on Tuesday that former President Chun Doo Hwan could not be buried at the National Cemetery for his role in the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Gwangju in 1980.

Referring to Article 5 of the National Cemetery Law, which excludes people from burial in the National Cemetery if that person has served a prison sentence for sedition, the ministry said that Chun, a former strongman and military dictator, had not been allowed to be buried in the prestigious resting place. place for veterans, independence activists and prominent political leaders.

Unlike Roh Tae-woo, who was Chun’s successor to the presidency and died less than a month before, the government will not hold a state funeral for Chun, nor send flowers or a delegation to the altar. Chun’s funeral at Severance Hospital in Seodaemun district, west Seoul.

While expressing condolences to Chun’s family, Blue House spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee noted Chun’s lack of public contrition before his death.

Although Roh provided crucial support for the December 1979 coup that allowed Chun, his former classmate at the Korean Military Academy, to take de facto control of the country, Roh also reinstated the vote. direct to the presidential elections in response to mass protests after he was announced as the presidential candidate of the Chun Democratic Justice Party.

Later in life and in his will, Roh also expressed remorse for his role in Korea’s violent political history.

The contrast between attending the funeral of Roh, who was buried with full state honors late last month, and Chun, whose family set up a private funeral altar at Severance Hospital, was striking. .

While Roh’s family and the state funeral drew a large number of people from all political backgrounds – including government figures, the ruling Democratic Party, the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) and representatives of the families of those killed in the crackdown on the Gwangju protests, which he encouraged – the funeral of Chun’s family was avoided even by PPP lawmakers, whose party descends from the Justice Party Democratic Republic of Chun.

The political reaction to the deaths of the two former presidents suggests that Roh’s public reputation was rehabilitated in his post-presidential years to a degree that Chun never was, despite the two men convicted and jailed for committing bribes. -of wine and sedition during their mandate.

The main visitors to Chun’s funeral altar on Tuesday were mainly those who had been closely associated with him during his tenure, including former party leader Lee Young-il and retired General Koh Myung-seung, a a former member of the Hanahoe, an unofficial military officer clique led by Chun who was instrumental in his 1979 coup.

Jang Se-dong, former head of the National Security Planning Department, who carried out internal surveillance operations under Chun, also paid tribute to Chun. Jang refused to answer questions from reporters outside the morgue.

Outside the morgue, a civic group associated with the Gwangju protests staged a protest with placards reading, “Even now, Chun Doo Hwan and members of the Fifth Republic regime should repent and apologize.”

The Fifth Republic refers to the authoritarian political order established with the adoption of the 1981 constitution under Chun, which replaced the Yushin constitution established under President Park Chung Hee in 1972.

Park’s daughter, former President Park Geun-hye who was impeached in 2017, sent a wreath of condolence to the morgue, as did her predecessor Lee Myung-bak and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon.

BY MICHAEL LEE [[email protected]]


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