Gwangju uprising foundation decries distortion attempts

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jan 30, 2013 - 16:57
  • Updated : Jan 31, 2013 - 08:45

The May 18 Memorial Foundation -- which commemorates the Gwangju uprising otherwise known as the May 18 Democratization Movement -- vowed Tuesday to take actions against attempts to distort the historical facts about the movement.

“We are mulling legal action in light of grave defamation and degrading of the Gwangju Democratization Movement by some netizens,” said Kim Chan-ho, secretary-general of the foundation. “We will take appropriate action to protect the dignity of the Gwangju uprising.”

The foundation said it will create a taskforce with a cyber action team and a legal team that will work to extinguish groundless rumors concerning the Gwangju uprising.

According to local news reports, some netizens have been arguing that the uprising in 1980 should be renamed the “Gwangju riot.”

An unnamed netizen recently filed an online petition on Daum’s online public forum Agora, calling for nullification of the Special Act on the May 18 Democratization Movement.

“Because of the special act, the supreme court ruling in the 1980s that defined the incident as the Gwangju riot was overturned,” the netizen said in the petition.

The netizen went on to say that the movement was instigated by North Korean spies, alleging that testimonies by “several defectors” point to such a conclusion. About 1,000 people signed the petition before it was taken down on Tuesday.

According to another report, a self-proclaimed university student got into a fueled online argument with another student after defining the movement as the Gwangju riot.

The two eventually decided to meet up in front of Korea University and engage in what netizens call hyunpi. Hyunpi, or “hyunsil (Korean word for reality) player killing,” refers to real-life fighting. The person who instigated the argument, however, never showed up.

The Gwangju uprising refers to a resistance movement by Gwangju citizens in 1980 against Gen. Chun Doo-hwan, whose junta government was looking to take over after a power vacuum following late leader Park Chung-hee’s assassination. Chun eventually ascended to presidency later in the year.

By Yoon Min-sik

<관련 한글 기사>

“5•18이 폭동이라니!” 논란 폭발

온라인 상에서 5•18 민주화 운동에 대한 역사적 사실 왜곡 및 평가절하가 도가 지나칠 정도로 심해지자 관련 단체에서 대응에 나섰다.

5•18 기념재단은 29일, “일부 누리꾼의 5•18 민주화운동에 대한 사실 왜곡과 폄훼가 심각해 법적 대응을 검토하고 있다”며 다음 달 초까지 법적 대응팀과 5•18 관련 사실을 제대로 알리는 사이버팀을 꾸려 대응할 방침이라고 밝혔다.

강운태 광주시장 역시 지난주 초  “5•18 이 북한의 사주를 받아 이뤄진 폭동이라는 터무니없는 주장까지 제기되고 있다”라며 5•18 기념재단, 전남대 5•18 연구소 등과 협력해 이에 대응하겠다고 밝힌 것으로 알려졌다.

언론 보도에 따르면 다음 아고라에는 지난 22일 ‘5•18특별법 폐기를 앙망합니다’라는 청원 글이 올라오기도 했다고 한다. 현재 삭제된 이 글에는 한 때 천 명에 가까운 네티즌들이 서명하였다.

글을 올린 네티즌은 5•18 민주화 운동을 ‘폭동’이라고 주장하며, 이 사건이 북한 남파간첩의 개입으로 이뤄졌다고 주장한 것으로 알려졌다.

얼마 전에는 한 네티즌이 5•18 민주화운동을 ‘폭동’으로 규정하자, 이를 반박한 다른 네티즌과 논쟁이 일어났다. 스스로 고대생이라고 밝힌 이 두 사람은 ‘현피 --현실과 플레이어 킬(player killing: PK)’를 약속하며 고대앞에서 만나기로 했으나 광주폭동을 주장하던 네티즌은 결국 나타나지 않았다.

A scene from a movie "Splendid Vacation," which depicts the Gwangju uprising.