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* Date : 2019-04-10

The Republic of Korea, the Most Democratic Nation in Asia

The Republic of Korea ranked 21st in the 2018 Democracy Index compiled by the U.K-based Economist Intelligence Unit. According to the index, South Korea was the most democratic nation in Asia, placing higher than the United States in 25th and Japan in 22nd.

What propelled the democracy of South Korea to achieve so much? What events took place in Korea a hundred years ago to give birth to the Constitutional principle of “The Republic of Korea is a democratic republic?” Until now, we have focused on the March 1st Independence Movement as nationwide protests against Imperial Japanese. But, frankly, not much attention has been paid to what kind of nation our ancestors were trying to build after Korea's independence.

This documentary was produced to mark the centennial of the establishment of the Korean Provisional Government and understand what kind of nation the Korean people wanted to build and defend. The episodes feature photographs and newspaper articles from that time as well as the scenes from a stage play and poems to help viewers relate better to what happened back then.

Part 1. Birth of a Nation

The March 1st Independence Movement took place on March 1st, 1919 in the colonized Korea. Countless women, merchants, and laborers – almost one out of every ten Koreans - joined the nationwide protests.

Demands for a new nation were made at the March 1st Movement, an occasion that sparked Koreans' transformation from the people of an empire to the people of a republic.

When asked what kind of king they wanted after gaining independence, the 33 representatives of the Korean people who proclaimed the Declaration of Independence answered that the worldwide trend was a democratic republic. That was the moment when Korea reinvented itself from a nation run by the powerful few to a democratic republic where everyone has a voting right.

The March 1st Movement led to the birth of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, China that April. The Provisional National Assembly announced the Provisional Charter on April 11th and decided on the name the Republic of Korea for the new nation. Article 1 of the Provisional Charter proclaimed the birth of a new nation by specifying that the Republic of Korea shall be a democratic republic. This clause was transferred to the Constitution of South Korea in its entirety and Korea became the only country in the world that has identified itself as a democratic republic in its Constitution.

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