Travel n Tour

The Tragic History of South Korea’s Jeju Island

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Thousands of South Korean, Chinese, and Japanese site visitors tour Jeju Island every summer season to experience its herbal beauty and coastline.

Some activists are looking to get visitors to see other regions that explore the island’s records and recall the victims of anti-communist killings, which began before the Korean War.

Jeju Island is called the ‘Hawaii of Korea.’ It has numerous waterfalls and natural wonders. Many site visitors do not forget seeing fields of yellow canola flowers and the intense blue of ocean water.

But 70 years ago, Jeju became where communist supporters released violent protests against South Korea’s new authorities. The protest movement grew right into a separatist riot.

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Communist riot

On April 3, 1948, rebels attacked police stations on Jeju, killing some officials. The rebels also burned balloting centers for the May 10 vote.

The government in Seoul declared navy rule to stop the unrest. Thousands of police officers and pro-authorities militias from the mainland participated in the violent suppression of the protests. The operation lasted till the unofficial stop of the Korean War in 1953.

A South Korean government report observed that authorities forces had been liable for enormous atrocities fifty years later. It blamed authorities forces for burning down 70 percent of all villages on Jeju Island.

The file determined 30,000 human beings have been killed in the violence. That number represented ten percent of the island’s populace.

“People have been killed without motive,” said Hong Chun-ho, an eighty one-12 to a months-antique survivor. “Anyone may want to lose their life. Whether or not it became a child, disabled, pregnant, or elderly, there has been no exception. They killed everyone that came into sight,” he stated.

Victims’ stays in Darangshi cave.
Victims’ stays in Darangshi cave.
A dark past

Today a citizen’s group operates an enterprise in Jeju called Dark Tours to assist visitors better apprehend the island’s unhappy history. The institution desires to call interest to the South Korean government’s involvement in killing hundreds of human beings.

We must “supply the message that we will now not keep silent in opposition to the state violence and that we may not let this manifest again,” said Baek Ga-Yoon, a consultant of Jeju Dark Tours.

The excursion institution takes site visitors to see where executions reportedly passed off and the grounds where many bodies are buried. It also shows them caves in which villagers might hide from police and military forces.

Critics of the South Korean government’s involvement in the Jeju struggle also maintain the USA answerable for what passed 70 years ago. They note that the new South Korean authorities were a U.S. Ally. They accuse the Americans of both immediately supporting or permitting the attacks on pro-communist activists.

The U.S. Army has denied any involvement in the crimes dedicated at the island.

Some South Koreans suspect that the tour institution isn’t always about information beyond, but approximately criticizing U.S. Involvement within us.

Kim Kwang-dong works as a security expert on the Nara Policy Institution in Seoul. He says the training and excursions coping with the April 3rd incident might be aimed toward offering insufficient data about the U.S. Military and work against the alliance. He fears this may lead to “the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces, which could be very flawed.”

So neither the Jeju excursion nor the areas marking the tragic records of the island have ended up famous visitor stops. The Jeju Provincial Tourism Association reports that during 2017, most straightforward 2.3 percent of Koreans visited the island for cultural or historic training purposes.

FILE – An ocean view from a bedroom on the Seogwipo Hyatt lodge is seen in this April 26, 2002, photograph.

The violence that occurred on Jeju Island is a divisive problem in South Korea. Some conservatives argue the killing of innocent civilians turned into justified to prevent the spread of communism throughout a time of the battle.

Others are aware the atrocities were devoted with the aid of authorities forces. They say the human beings of Jeju had been warring freedom parties who opposed the department of the Korean peninsula.

For many years, the South Korean government suppressed and restricted facts about Jeju’s history. People who wrote approximately the killings had been imprisoned. Some children and grandchildren of Koreans worried about the unrest record. They had difficulty locating jobs.

In 2003, the Korean government apologized for its part in the violence. The households of the victims have demanded price for damages. This year, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in expressed aid for reconciliation through discussions and education.

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