Chun Doo-hwan

Chun Doo Hwan jûn dō hwän [key], 1931–2021, Korean military leader, president of South Korea (1980–88), b. Hapcheon, Korea. An army officer, Chun rose to power in a coup following the murder (1979) of South Korean President Park Chung Hee. As president, Chun banned many of his opponents from politics and passed (1980) a new authoritarian constitution. In 1981 he lifted martial law, in effect since 1979. In 1987 he picked Roh Tae Woo to be his party's presidential candidate and subsequently endorsed Roh's democratization policies. Chun and Roh were both indicted in 1995 and 1996 on corruption charges, as well as for their roles in the 1979 coup and in the massacre of prodemocracy demonstrators in Gwangju (Kwangju) in 1980. Sentenced to life in prison, Chun was pardoned in Dec., 1997, by President Kim Dae Jung, as a national reconciliation gesture. The same year that he was pardonned, the Korean Supreme Court ordered him to repay $220 million in funds he had taken from the Korean government, and the government subsequently collected about half of that amount.

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