1987: When the Day Comes is a Korean movie that has recently been released in theaters around the globe. The movie is based on a true story of the events that took place in 1987 in South Korea surrounding the death of a student named Park Jong Chul.
Known as the June Democracy Movement, protesters of this movement urged the South Korean government to hold direct elections and establish other democratic reforms. Until then, South Korean presidents were elected indirectly by an electoral college. During the 1980s, dictator Chun Doo Hwan oppressed the rights of the citizens of South Korea. He ordered the arrests of many democratic politicians because of his selfish ambition to run his country by himself. This caused the people of South Korea to protest against the government for democracy.
On January 14, 1987, Park Jong Chul, a student from Seoul National University, died because of torture by government authorities. Before his death, Park Jong Chul allowed his friend, who was also a protestor, to spend the night at his place. The next morning, his friend left Park’s place without telling him where he was going. Shortly after, authorities captured Park in order to find the whereabouts of his friend. Park Jong Chul repeatedly stated that he did not know where his friend had gone and that he only let him spend the night at his place.
As a result, the authorities began to torture Park to try to make him confess his friend’s whereabouts. While they were using the method of waterboarding, which causes an individual to experience a sensation of drowning as water is poured over their face, Park was accidentally killed when his throat was crushed against the rim of the tub. His death was also influenced by asphyxiation, the process of being deprived of oxygen, as his head was repeatedly dunked in the tub of water. After Park died, the police hid the truth by stating that he died due to a heart attack when the interrogator slammed his hand on the table. Most of the citizens did not believe this nonsense because it was not a reasonable cause for his death.
Shortly after Park’s death, an autopsy was performed on him. The government authorities continued to cover the truth by telling the doctors who were in charge of the autopsy to lie to the people that he had died of shock. However, the doctors started to tell the truth to the people when the press raised questions about the autopsy.
This is how the June Democracy Movement was formed, as people demanded the truth of Park’s death and democracy in their country. More problems started to arise as citizens demanded a direct election of the president stating that the current government was not democratic. As the truth broke out about Park’s death, people started to protest for the death of another student from Yonsei University, Lee Han Yeol.
Lee had died from his wounds when tear gas was shot at his head; he was fatally wounded when his skull was penetrated and on July 5, 1987, he passed away. The truth further outraged the people of South Korea and eventually led to the government holding direct elections from the people. The authorities who hid the truth about Park’s death were also arrested and served prison time.
Because of the events in 1987, the government of South Korea was able to reform and become the democratic government that it is today. The recently released Korean movie 1987: When the Day Comes further spreads the awareness of the events of 1987.