Jeju Massacre Memorial Group To Rally An Anti-United States Protest In Seoul

Nicole Han, April 6, 2018, 9:52 a.m.

A taxpayer-funded civic group whose mission is to keep the 1948-1954 massacres in Jeju fresh in the national memory plans an anti-U.S. protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Saturday. But piggybacking on the rally is an activist group that was found by the Supreme Court to be pro-North Korean.

The Jeju group receives W3 billion in government support this year (US$1=W1,061).

The Jeju group plans to deliver a letter to embassy officials demanding an apology from the U.S. government for backing the South Korean dictatorship during an anti-communist campaign that saw the slaughter of some 30,000 men, women and children in Jeju, or about 10 percent of its population at the time.

Kang Ho-jin, who heads the group, said, "The U.S. military, which effectively ruled over the South since the two Koreas were divided along the 38th parallel, is responsible for the massacres, and our letter urges the U.S. to reveal the truth."

He said the U.S. "oversaw all military operations on Jeju since 1948 and provided surveillance airplanes and weapons."

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the brutal campaign, and the civic group was formed to handle commemorative events throughout the year. Its honorary chairman is Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong .

Another group helping organize the rally is the Pan-national Alliance for Korea’s Reunification, which was found by the Supreme Court in 1997 to be sympathetic to North Korea.

South Korea has had enormous difficulty coming to terms with its modern history, where brutal dictatorships brought about an unprecedented economic miracle, sharply dividing the country along partisan lines.

The dictator at the time of the massacres was Syngman Rhee, who died in exile in Hawaii. 

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