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This wholesale clothing market, the largest of its kind in the country, developed along the Cheonggyecheon (Stream). It was given the name Pyounghwa (Peace) because many of the storeowners wished for the country’s peaceful unification with the North.
Many of the market’s storeowners crossed the 38th parallel from the North during the Korean War, and quite a few of them went into business with just a sewing machine or two to make a living. They lived in ramshackle huts along Cheonggyecheon (Stream).
In 1962, their situation improved and they moved their equipment into newly built modern buildings, but they still relied on the cheap labor of people living in the nearby ramshackle huts. The employees’ working conditions were very poor. Jeon Tae-il, a member of the Cheonggye Clothing Workers’ Union, burned himself to death in protest against the poor working conditions in November 1970.