Aug. 7 (UPI) — A former South Korean president’s memoir that covers the 1980 Gwangju Uprising may not be published, after activists said Chun Doo-hwan‘s book includes 33 fabricated events or statements.
Activists involved in raising awareness of state-sanctioned violence against civilian protesters during the uprising won an injunction against Chun Jae-guk, the former president’s son, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported Monday.
The Gwangju District Court issued a verdict, reflecting the plaintiff’s view Chun’s memoir distorts the truth of the event also referred to as the May 18 Democratic Uprising.
Of the 33 false statements, about 16 of the passages claimed North Korean troops were directly involved in the protests, according to Hankyoreh.
One of the passages read, “Among the 600 participants in the May 18 Democratic Uprising were special forces dispatched from North Korea.”
That statement reflects the views of ultra-conservative South Korean conservatives like Jee Man-won, who has previously claimed 600 North Korean soldiers infiltrated Gwangju during the pro-democracy uprising in 1980.
The court ruled on Friday that not only is the infiltration claim false, but that Seoul’s defense ministry had already stated in May 2013 the intervention of North Korea forces in Gwangju remained “unconfirmed.”
The court also made references to a declassified U.S. document, dating from June 6, 1980, and released in January 2017, that showed U.S. intelligence officials pointing out North Korea had, at the time, maintained it would never intervene in South Korea’s domestic politics.
The former South Korean leader has also made statements in interviews that contradict the passages in his memoir, according to Hankyoreh.
Chun told local political journal Shin Donga in 2016 that he had “never heard of” North Korea special forces’ involvement in the uprising.
Chun assumed leadership of South Korea in 1979 and stepped down in 1988.