Shows: January 13, 2014

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From Park Chung-hee to Park Geun-hye - South Korea's Fight for Democracy

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One year into her presidency, South Korean president Park Geun-hye faces growing calls for her ouster by South Korean citizens. From labor unions vowing to fight privatization and students discontent with chronic unemployment to civic groups critical of intelligence agencies interfering in domestic politics, diverse sectors of society are aligning to mount a serious challenge to Park's power. Some liken her recent crackdowns on labor unions and the progressive party to state repression during the rule of her dictator father, Park Chung-hee.

APF dedicates a full hour on the fight for democracy in South Korea - in the 1970s during Park Chung-hee's rule, and today, during the daughter Park's rule.

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Surviving Park Chung-hee - Part 1

Noh Chunhee, a local Korean American activist in Queens, New York, still mourns the death of her lover, a pro-democracy activist conscripted into the military and tragically killed under Park Chung-hee's authoritarian rule in the 1970s.

Forty years later, she breaks her silence to share her personal story about life under Park Chung-hee's Yushin dictatorship.

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Surviving Park Chung-hee - Part 2

Overseas Koreans around the world were part of the movement for democracy and reunification in defiance of the Park Chung-hee regime. In New York, progressive Koreans expressed their opposition to Park Chung-hee through grassroots organizing and street protests despite extraordinary risk to their personal safety and of being isolated from their community.

Veteran activists Chee Chang-boh and Sonia Jang discuss surviving the Park Chung-hee era and fighting for their beliefs as Koreans in the diaspora in the 1970s.

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Park Geun-hye's Troubled First Year

In just one year in office, the Park Geun-hye administration has outlawed the progressive teachers union, prosecuted a left-leaning parliamentarian on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government, called for the banning of a progressive party, and has virtually declared war on labor by vowing to privatize rail operations as well as other public sectors. She has also been embroiled in a standoff over accusations that the National Intelligence Service and the military were involved in smearing her opponents to help her win the election in 2012.

Is Park Geun-hye's authoritarian style straight out of her father's playbook? What does the expanding power of national security apparatuses in South Korea mean for democracy and civil society?

APF sat down with Oslo-based Korea scholar Vladimir Tikhonov to assess Park Geun-hye's first year in office.

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The Fight to Oust Park Geun-hye

Korean communities around the world - from Paris and Berlin to Mexico City and Sydney, Australia - are joining the call to oust Park Geun-hye through coordinated protests.

APF also spoke with New York-based Rev. Tong-kyun Kim about the role of Koreans in the diaspora in the fight to defend democracy in South Korea.

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This program is brought to you by Danny Kim and Hyun Lee of the APF collective.

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