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Chang-geun Yang was a man who was killed during the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea during May of 1980. He was one of the five unidentified bodies laid to rest in the tomb of the "Unknown Martyrs" alongside Dong-nam Shin.

He was identified through genetic testing in late December of 2021 after an investigation committee received genetic material from his older brother. Yang and Shin's cases are now being used to attempt to identify the remaining 3 bodies inside the Unknown Martyrs tomb.

Case

On May 18th, 1980, students from the local Chonnam University in Gwangju, South Korea, who were protesting against the martial law government of the country at the time were murdered, shot, raped, and beaten by government soldiers. This sparked a large uprising in the city resulting in civilians raiding local police stations to arm themselves and occupying large portions of the city before more government soldiers arrived. Violent clashes between civilians and soldiers were common during the uprising, resulting in an uncertain death toll by the end of the conflict on May 27th of 1980. While government reports state only 170 casualties, it is suspected the true number of casualties ranges from 600 to 2,300 people.

Yang was amongst the casualties of the uprising, though it is unknown how he was killed or when his remains were discovered. His body was stated to have been unidentified and laid to rest in the Unknown Martyrs tomb until an investigation committee for the uprising received genetic material from his older brother in 2021. Yang was conclusively identified in late 2021 with no further details about his case being available to the public at this time aside from his body being buried in the old Mangwol graveyard where his body was initially buried after his death.

The investigation committee for the Gwangju Uprising is now using the cases of Yang and Shin to identify the remaining three bodies inside of the Unknown Martyrs tomb as of February 2022.

Sources

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