(3rd LD) Mother of late student activist dies at 82

장동우 / 2022-01-09 20:59:47
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(3rd LD) activist's mother-death
▲ The portrait of Bae Eun-sim, the mother of the late student activist Lee Han-yeol, is set up at the funeral altar inside Chosun University Hospital in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ This photo of the funeral altar for Bae Eun-sim, the mother of the late student activist Lee Han-yeol, inside Chosun University Hospital in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 9, 2022, shows the certificate for the Moran Order of Civil Merit that Bae received in June 2020 for her contribution to democratization of South Korea. (Yonhap)

▲ Actor Gang Dong-won (R), who starred in "1987," a 2017 film based on the real-life events during the 1987 democracy protests, pays condolences to the late Bae Eun-sim, activist and mother of the late student activist Lee Han-yeol, inside Chosun University Hospital in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on Jan. 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ In this file photo from June 9, 2021, Bae Eun-sim, mother of the late student activist Lee Han-yeol, speaks at an event at Yonsei University in Seoul marking the 34th anniversary of her son's death. (Yonhap)

(3rd LD) activist's mother-death

(3rd LD) Mother of late student activist dies at 82

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 10-12; ADDS photo)

GWANGJU, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- Bae Eun-sim, the mother of a late student activist whose death became a symbol of South Korea's pro-democracy movement in 1987, died Sunday. She was 82.

Bae had been hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction last Monday, and was discharged Saturday. She died at Chosun University Hospital in the southwestern city of Gwangju after collapsing on Sunday.

Bae's surviving family members decided against an autopsy and they will proceed with her funeral in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

Bae's son, Yonsei University student activist Lee Han-yeol, died on July 5, 1987, weeks after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by riot police during a rally on his campus in Seoul.

His death sparked wider protests against the iron-fisted rule of President Chun Doo-hwan. The general-turned-strongman seized power through a 1979 military coup and ruthlessly quelled a pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju.

The protests eventually led to the restoration of the direct presidential election system, a decisive turning point in South Korea's democratization.

Chun's longtime friend, Roh Tae-woo, won the election in December 1987. Roh was South Korea's last general-turned-president. Chun and Roh died last year.

Following Lee's death, Bae became an activist herself. She once served as the head of a national association of families who lost their loved ones in pro-democracy protests of the 1980s. Bae was awarded the Moran Medal, the second-highest Order of Civil Merit, in June 2020 for her contribution to the country's democratization.

President Moon Jae-in sent a wreath to Bae's funeral altar set up at Chosun University Hospital. Cheong Wa Dae later announced that Moon visited the altar at around 4:40 p.m. Sunday to pay his respects in person.

While consoling the bereaved family, Moon said South Korea's democracy today owes a lot to "the sacrifice and devotion" of Lee and Bae, according to presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.

Star actor Gang Dong-won, who played Lee in "1987," a 2017 film based on the real-life events during the 1987 democracy protests, also paid respect to Bae.

"I promised to pay her a visit this year but was able to only speak over the phone several times due to the busy schedule," Gang said after paying his condolences. "I'm sorry for not having met her in person (before her passing)," he added.

Rival political parties were united in commemorating Bae, calling her the mother of South Korean democracy who sacrificed a great deal for the good of the country.

(END)
 

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