November Revolution

From Themys Project
November Revolution
Part of Third Zhenian Republic, Fourth Zhenian Republic
A protester standing off against RZA tanks around the final days of the November Protests.
A protester standing off against tanks of the Capital Defense Command during the last days of the Revolution.
DateJune 2, 1569 AC - November 11, 1569 AC
(5 months, 1 week and 2 days)
All of Zhenia
Caused by
GoalsDemocratic reforms, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, labor rights
MethodsHunger strike, sit-in, occupation of public areas
Resulted in
Parties to the civil conflict
Zhenia Zhenian protesters
Lead figures
Zhenia Li Shan

Zhenia Jung Jisang

Zhenia Cheon Wenrin
Zhenia Kim Shimin
Zhenia Park Jungho
10,000,000+ protesters nationwide, 1,200,000 in Daedo (Nov. 1569)
340,000 military personnel deployed nationwide
25,000+ riot control personnel in Daedo alone
Casualties and losses
1,899 dead, 11,000+ injured
33 dead, 180 injured

The November Revolution (Zhenian: 11월 혁명), also known as the Zhenian Revolution of 1569, was a civil revolution that occurred in Zhenia in 1569 AC against the Third Zhenian Republic and the Kim Shimin regime. It refers to a series of protests, nationwide rallies and a series of other events against the current regime that started in the June of 1569 and ended with the resignation of Kim Shimin from Chancellor and the subsequent end of the Third Republic. It is also referred to as the Second Zhenian Revolution, in reverence to the December Revolution that marked the transition from the Empire of Zhenia to the First Republic.

It began with temporary economic stagnation during the later years of the Third Republic and the Kim Shimin regime, which had previously justified authoritarian rule with Zhenia's resurgence in the global stage both economically and politically. After a number of significant instances of repression against opposition parties, as well as political scandals within the bureaucracy and the revealing of the Shinhang Papers in 1568 AC, a series of protests calling for the ascertainment of truth erupted across several Zhenian cities. The Third Republic responded with both conciliatory and hardline tactics, reinforcing the anti-corruption system both to crack down and expose divisions in opposition parties, ultimately strengthening the Third Republic's grip of power. Amid intensifying protests, Kim Shimin declared martial law in Shinhang and numerous major Zhenian cities on March 16, 1569, and signed Administrative Order 1566, authorizing the usage of military force against protesters if needed, although the military refrained from using active force until the September Tragedy.

On September 10, 1569, a rally in Jinhae, calling for more freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the return of constitutional due process and democracy in Zhenia, were violently suppressed by military force, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. The September Tragedy became a major turning point in the Third Republic's political situation, with the core of the protests turning towards the removal of Kim Shimin and the end of the Third Republic, as well as the return of democracy and constitutional due process. After weeks of protests and continued violent military suppression, rank-and-file members of the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces in Daedo, as well as a vast majority of the High Command, turned against the Third Republic and joined the protesters on November 6, 1569, after which the remainder of the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces almost unanimously followed suit. With the regime no longer supported, Kim Shimin resigned from Chancellor, while other members of government followed suit on the same day: while most members of government at the time were given life sentences, Kim Shimin, taking his accomplishments into account, was specially pardoned after he relinquished all rights and privileges as former Chancellor. A new set of Chancellor and general elections resulted in a change of regime in both Parliament houses and the Chancellor, as well as the revision of the Constitution, thus resulting in the advent of the Fourth Republic.

As the last major revolution in Zhenian history to this day, the November Revolution has had significant impacts in the modern Zhenian state, with the current regime and several amendments to the Constitution as the direct outcomes of the revolution. With the general trend of present-day Zhenia being focused on the departure from its authoritarian shadows of the Third Republic, the November Revolution is seen by many as the turning point in the nation's modern history. The new regime, under the leadership of November Revolution participant Li Shan, indoctrinated reconciliatory policies towards former Third Republic bureaucrats and continued much of the meritocratic and anti-populist systems in place before the revolution alongside several social and economic reforms.


Economic stagnation

Revealing of the Shinhang Papers

On May 28, 1568, Kim Inho, then-bureau director of the Ministry of Finance, became a whistleblower of the ministry by revealing previously classified documents within the ministry concerning the development of the Shinhang National Industrial Complex in Shinhang, Imhae Province. The 181-page document - later to be known as the Shinhang Papers due to the content of the document - revealed that a significant number of Third Republic government officials had been perpetually and deeply involved in the corporate bidding process of the development and distribution of lots in the industrial complex, while also revealing their involvement in real estate speculation in residential area developments and a loophole in the system that allowed for a systematic tax portal for those involved within. The papers revealed the involvement of hundreds of state officials, including the aide-de-camps of Kim Shimin - in the corruption scandal as well. The full text of the document received coverage in every major nationwide newspaper except for the nationalized Zhenia Shinbo. The papers were labeled by civilian media as "an explicit betrayal of the economic miracle of the Zhenian people", and "a clear note on who rakes the benefits of Zhenian resurgence".

The Third Republic reacted to the incident from multiple angles. Kim Inho was immediately stripped of his position in the Ministry of Finance, while later being arrested and imprisoned under the National Security Act. Towards the public, the Third Republic launched a major anti-corruption campaign via the National Prosecution Service at an attempt to minimize the Third Republic's ties with the incident. At the same time, however, it viewed the incident as an opportunity to crack down against the opposition, thus using the anti-corruption campaign and the National Security Act to legally breach opposition party headquarters and arrest opposition party members. Thus, on July 11, 1568, the Liberal Democratic Party's headquarters were stormed by military police units, with allegations of several party members being involved in systematic corruption and violation of the National Security Act.

Nationwide protests and unrest

While the Third Republic responded

Declaration of martial law

September Tragedy

The September Tragedy ended with protesters in Jinhae being violently suppressed by the military.

While protests and rallies were cracked down by the military towards the turn of the year, several pro-democracy organizations began to plan a network of nationwide protests calling for the end of the Third Republic, many of them taking place in public areas around major cities. Despite the activation of martial law, protesters and rallies took to the streets of major Zhenian cities almost every weekend, calling for the lifting of martial law and the end of suppression of basic freedoms.

On the morning of September 10, 1569 AC, a protest organized by the Liberal Democratic Party, the National Student's Union for Democracy and several affiliated organizations congregated in Jinhae's Waterfront Square in a rally that were expected to have seen over a million participants. Under Administrative Order 1566, several Army units stationed around the city, including battalions of the notorious 21st Mechanized Division, surrounded the protesters by 11:00 AM, establishing barricades around the square to minimize the influx of additional protesters filling the ranks. A dangerous standoff between the armed soldiers and protesters was maintained until noon, with the protesters repeatedly chanting for the removal of the Third Republic and the return of democratic order to the state. Around 11:21 AM, under orders from high command, the 21st Division fired live ammunition against the protesters in Waterfront Square, while armored vehicles plowed through the ranks of protesters. The situation was similar throughout other parts of Jinhae, with tanks and armored vehicles filling the streets and soldiers repelling and often opening fire upon protesters. It has been confirmed that over 1,200 protesters died in Jinhae alone, as a result of the violent crackdown - the events in Jinhae that day have been marked as the September Tragedy after the revolution.

The September Tragedy marked a significant turning point in the course of the November Revolution, as it had been the first incident, despite martial law, in which the military opened fire upon civilian protesters. It was an indicator that the Third Republic would respond to "protests against the state" far more violently than before: while the military had previously refrained from using live munitions against the protesters under Kim Shimin's orders, the September Tragedy became the precedent that the Third Republic was no longer refraining to actively use military force to suppress any domestic challenges against the state's rule.

September Protests after the September Tragedy

Word of the September Tragedy was at first embargoed by the Third Republic, which, as a result of martial law, had partial control over the media: thus, the events of the September Tragedy was not spread throughout the nation until September 15, when the Geumho Post, a major nationwide newspaper, covered the events of the September Tragedy and proliferated the news nationwide. This resulted in further outrage among the Zhenian populace, as it had been made clear, at least to the protesters, that the Third Republic was no longer afraid to suppress its own people for the state's survival. Upon getting word of the September Tragedy, surviving factions of the Liberal Democratic Party formally condemned the Kim Shimin regime on September 15 in the Parliament, calling the events of September 10 "an atrocity against the basic rights of the Zhenian people"; the National Student's Union for Democracy, alongside the Zhenian Democratic Front, joined the line of condemnation the same day, calling for additional protests throughout the nation in response to the regime's hardline tactics.

The following weekend saw record numbers of protests and rallies throughout most Zhenian cities, as pro-democracy organizations continued to rally in public spaces despite the regime's warnings of suppression via military force.

October Protests

Statues of the iconic Harbinger of Democracy (pictured above) were erected in major rally points across the nation in the later phases of the revolution.

The wave of nationwide protests and rallies sparked by the September Tragedy continued into October.

November Protests and Resignation of Kim Shimin

The Mutiny of Daedo

On November 7, the record number of protests was broken again, with over 7 million protesters gathered in numerous rally points nationwide. Daedo saw over 800,000 protesters altogether occupying Emperor Seongjo Boulevard, from the Daeseong Palace to the Arch of Zhenian Unification. Following hardline tactics as usual, over 20,000 Republic of Zhenia Army soldiers were deployed in Daedo alone, surrounding the protesters with barricades and military vehicles while also keeping them out of major governmental facilities.

Resignation of Kim Shimin

Amid the intensification of nationwide protests as well as the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces almost unanimously turning against the Third Republic in the Mutiny of Daedo, Kim Shimin announced his resignation from Chancellor on November 11, announcing his decision to resign as "yet another decision for the state and welfare of the Republic of Zhenia".


Changes in leadership and revision of the Constitution

The resignation of both the Chancellor and Premier, as well as the dismantling of the Cabinet, left a blank of power that called for a new set of both Chancellor and general elections. In the general elections that quickly followed on December 19, 1569, the Union of Neo-Renism, a newly-founded party that was primarily led by November Revolution activists and opposition party politicians during the Third Republic, won in a landslide and formed a majority of the new Parliament; Li Shan, one of the party's leaders, won the Chancellor elections on the same day, defeating Liberal Democrat candidate Lee Minsuk in a landslide.

A day after they were elected, the Parliament drafted the revisions to the Zhenian Constitution as the Parliamentary Constitution Committee. In the process, many of the centralized authoritarian principles implemented during the Third Republic, particularly concerning the rights of the Chancellor and Premier, were eliminated or revised; some characteristics implemented into the Constitution during the Third Republic, including the clause mentioning the state's duty to provide social security to its people, were maintained. Revised Renist principles, concerning the partial justification of centralized authority to maintain stability of life and liberty of the people, were significantly reflected into the Constitution, although the core principles concerning the rights and liberties of the Zhenian people remained intact. The revised Constitution, was rapidly processed and put to a nationwide referendum on October 1, 1570 and passed with 89% of the constituents agreeing upon it. The revised Constitution was ratified and proclaimed on December 1, 1570, a day remembered as Republic Day in Zhenia to this day. The day the revised Constitution was proclaimed is considered as the beginning of the Fourth Zhenian Republic, a day meant to intentionally coincide with the establishment of the First Republic as a result of the December Revolution.

Trials, punishment and Kim Shimin's loss of power

At the same day of their resignation from Chancellor and Premier respectively, Kim Shimin and Park Jungho, along with several members of the Cabinet and members of the Front of National Salvation, were arrested with charges of "dismantling the constitutional order of the Zhenian Republic and the rights of the Zhenian people". Kim Shimin and Park Jungho in particular were put in house arrest, while most members of the Cabinet at the time as well as the Front of National Salvation were imprisoned. Trials for both the Chancellor and Premier, alongside other high-ranking members of the Third Republic's government, were expected to be held under the interim government by 1570.

Kim Shimin, having spearheaded the Third Republic from the beginning since the Coup of 1549, was expected to take on the largest burden of such charges. While more radical factions that led the revolution, most notably the People's Action Party, called for the imprisonment and execution of key Third Republic leaders for charges against the state, much of the Fourth Republic's new government, including Li Shan and a majority of the members of the Union of Neo-Renism, argued against brutality against the Third Republic's leaders. While the Third Republic's leaders would have been punishable had they been impeached through the governmental process, Kim Shimin in particular had voluntarily resigned, making the determination of his legal status in relation to such charges difficult. After a process many speculated as a plea bargain, Kim Shimin made a public announcement on December 24, 1569 concerning his relinquishment of all privileges, pensions and rights as a former Chancellor, as well as the returning of all of his assets gained during the Third Republic to society. The Li Shan administration on the next day announced the end of the prosecution process against Kim Shimin, specially pardoning him. After he was pardoned, Kim Shimin returned and resided in his home in Dongdo, permanently distancing himself from political affairs of the Fourth Republic until his death on June 4, 1572.

Other high-ranking officials and military leaders of the Third Republic, however, were not able to face the same fate.

Memorial and legacy

See also