Do you know the people of this country?

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

These people live at the intersection where the cultures of the continent and the ocean meet. However, they have maintained their own unique culture and tradition for 5000 years.

Throughout its history, China was ruled by many powerful dynasties. China constantly asked this country to obey the China-centered world order and culture.

Nevertheless, the people of this country persistently resisted and created their own culture.

漢字 (Hanzi)
Chinese characters, called Hanzi, functioned as the global writing system throughout Asia. 
However, the people of this country decided to go against this China-centered cultural order. In the 15th century, they invented their own alphabet. 

“Our language differs from Chinese, and so many of the common people are unable to express what they wish to communicate in writing.”

Their writing system is the world’s only alphabet of which the inventor, principles of invention, and date of promulgation are known.  They were courageous enough to make their own alphabet to replace the dominant language of the region. They were the kind of people who were not afraid of creation and innovation. 

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

This country was occupied by Imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945. Throughout the occupation period, the people of this country fought for independence. Despite their fear of brutal suppression, over two million people participated in nonviolent resistance. It was the ‘March First Movement’. 

The New York Times in USA
Entente in France
The Morning Post in UK
Minguo Daily in China

International media took notice of the peaceful movement of these people.

The March First Movement was an unarmed revolution, a revolution for the obviously impossible, and a purely student revolution. They marked an epoch in the history of revolution.
- Student-run periodical of Peking University, the Renaissance (April 1, 1919)

Gandhi hurried back to India, after reading articles about this independence movement.

Then, he started a non-violent independence movement against Britain on April 5. Indian poet Tagore called the people of this country ‘the lamp of the East’. World leaders have seen the people of this country as the light of Asia.

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

A devastating war in 1950 destroyed their land. They became one of the world’s poorest people with a GDP per capita of $50.

“It will take them 100 years to recover from the devastation.”
- U.S. General Douglas MacArthur

“After 36 years of Japanese colonization, ideological conflict, and now a war, I think there is more of a chance of a rose blooming out of a trash heap, than this country being able to stand on its own.” – A British newspaper

In a half century after the war, they multiplied their GNI by 380 and GDP by 750. This country emerged as an economic power.

After WWII, around 140 countries gained independence. Among them, this country is the only one that achieved both democratization and economic development.

In the 1960s, this country received international aid. Since 2009, this country has officially been providing aid to African and Asian countries. This country has the second largest number of overseas volunteers after the USA.

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

In national crises, the people of this country refused to just sit and blame their country. Instead, they united with each other and searched for ways to overcome those crises. This country had suffered from Imperial Japan’s unreasonable demands.

In 1907, it had a debt of 13 million won to Japan.

As the debt began to threaten their sovereignty, they united to protect their country. They initiated a nationwide movement to remove the debt. Whether young or old, poor or rich, high or low-status, everybody joined the movement. They donated their precious jewelry and money to relieve their nation’s financial crisis.

In 1997, this country faced another financial crisis. To avoid a national default, this country received IMF loans. The entire nation suffered from severe restructuring and financial difficulties.

However, the people of this country voluntarily started a gold collection campaign to help rebuild their foreign exchange reserves.

Priceless wedding rings
Children’s birthday rings
Grandparents’ gold teeth
Military generals’ insignias

Over 3.5 million people participated.
Around 227 tons of gold was collected.

This collective effort enabled them to pay back a debt of 2.1 billion dollars. They impressed the world, and regained the trust of international investors. They have received much respect from many countries that suffer from economic crisis.

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

In 2007, the Hebei Spirit spilled a massive amount of crude oil into the ocean near this country. Over 12 thousand ㎘ of crude oil suddenly covered the sea in black. The marine ecosystem was destroyed, and numerous fishermen lost their means of making a living.

As soon as they found out about the suffering of their neighbors, the people of this country went to the sea shore. The fierce sea wind and cold couldn’t stop them.

A daily average of 10 thousand people and a total of 1.2 million went to help. They successfully removed the crude oil that covered the rocks and mud flats. Experts expected a half century to remove the oil band.

However, the people of this country voluntarily started a national movement. The polluted sea was soon reborn as a popular beach, visited by 700 thousand people a year. The world’s disaster cleanup experts were impressed by the scale of such voluntary efforts.

The people of this country overcame the worst disaster and created a miracle. The people of the world saw the potential of this country, and made the following predictions.

After 2025, this country will become Asia’s strongest power and join the world’s strongest powers.  
- A Brief History of the Future by French futurist Jacques Attali

By 2050, GDP per capital in this country will reach $80,000, the second largest in the world.
- The Wall Street Journal

This country, the world’s 11th largest economy in 2007, will be ranked 9th by 2025.

By 2050, the country’s GDP per capital will reach $81,000, overtaking its rivals, such as Japan and Germany, and become the second in the world after the United States.
- 2007 Goldman Sachs economic forecast report

Have you ever heard about the people of this country?

They have impressed the world.
They have become proof of hope and miracles.
Who are these people?

They are the ‘Korean people’.

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