China continues to erase Korean history

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Ever-vigilant over what it sees as Japan’s distortions of history, China is pushing ahead with some rewriting of its own to suppress mention of a separate Korean identity in its textbooks. The Chinese Foreign Ministry in August last year erased reference to some pre-1948 Korean history on its website, and now all accounts of pre-modern Korean history, including the Koguryo kingdom, are gone from a world history textbook for ethnic Korean- students in Yanbian, Jilin Province.

Uri Party lawmaker Yoo Ki-hong, who recently visited China, said the new Korean-language middle school textbook omits all mention of Korean history from the three ancient kingdoms to the Chosun era.

The move breaches a verbal agreement whereby Beijing promised not to distort Koguryo history in its textbooks. It is seen as part of Chinese efforts to co-opt the Koguryo kingdom and claim pre-modern Korean history as part of Chinese rather than world history. After Seoul took issue with the deletion of Korean history from the Foreign Ministry website, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei during a visit to the country in August last year agreed to the five-clause verbal accord.

About 50-60 percent of Chinese middle schools use the Chinese version of the world history textbook. China struck the Korean parts from the Chinese version in 2003.

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