Special features on the
70th anniversary of the Jeju April 3rd Incident
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the April 3 Uprising and Massacre in Jeju. A tragedy of contemporary South Korean history, the event had an estimated death toll between 25,000 and over 30,000 – representing 10% of Jeju Island’s population at the time. The Special Act on the Jeju April 3 Incident blandly defines it as “an incident extending from March 1, 1947, through the turbulence that erupted on April 3, 1948, and on to September 21, 1954, in which residents were killed due to armed clashes and suppression tactics.” But it was a tragedy of contemporary South Korean history, and the scars remain to this day. For close to 50 years, the massacre remained a taboo topic. The late former President Roh Moo-hyun apologized in Oct. 2003 for the excessive measures taken by state authorities to quash the uprising, but subsequent conservative administrations saw numerous attempts by the right to misrepresent the event. For the 70th anniversary of the uprising, the Hankyoreh is reflecting on its contemporary meaning with a five part series. The symbol of April 3 is the camellia, a flower that represents the Jeju residents who fell silently to the cold earth like red petals on that day.