Chun Doo-hwan, former general and president of South Korea from 1980 to 1988, died on Tuesday at the age of 90: he had been ill for some time and died at his home in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Chun Doo-hwan took the power in 1979 with a coup, replacing Park Chung-hee, who himself came to power with a coup. He ruled the country as a dictator, with violence and repressing opposition and dissent.

Chun Doo-hwan closed the universities and the Parliament and violently repressed the great protests for democracy that followed the coup: tens of thousands of students were imprisoned and nearly 200 people were killed. He also had some political opponents arrested, including Kim Dae-jung, who was later released, became president and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. Chun Doo-hwan started a “Social Purification” program, with which several people, including political dissidents, they were locked up in barracks and suffered various types of violence: hundreds of them died.

He lost the elections in 1987 (called after huge protests), was sentenced to death in 1996, but was later pardoned by Kim Dae-jung. During his reign, the South Korean economy grew considerably, but Chun always remained a deeply unpopular figure. He never regretted the violence that characterized his regime. AND died about a month after Roh Tae-Woo, president of South Korea from 1988 to 1993, who first was an ally of Chun but then opened up to democracy.

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