What does it take to peacefully remove a democratically elected president from power? In this brave new world of fake news on Facebook and post-truth politics on Twitter, it was traditional forces of resistance and dissent—idealistic students, intrepid journalists, invigorated parliamentarians, and outraged urbanites—who launched a revolution in Korea.South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution started over the summer of 2016 in the old-fashioned way: with on-campus activism. Students at Ewha Womans University had been protesting the administration over what they called “unilateral and undemocratic” policies when their ire turned to a specific case of injustice. They learned that the university illegitimately admitted a student solely because her mother was Choi Soon-sil, friend of Korean president Park Geun-hye. The administration stonewalled the students but they refused to give up. Finally, when faculty decided to join the students, the beleaguered university president announced her resignation. It seemed, at the time, like an isolated incident, a small victory for justice. In fact, the students had pulled loose a thread to unravel the web of corruption surrounding the highest echelons of political and economic power in the country.
A Win for South Korea’s Revolution