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Court upholds gov't order to amend history textbooks

A local court on Monday turned down a request from authors of six history textbooks to suspend a controversial government order to amend them for containing ideological bias, allowing the distribution of revised versions to high school students early next year as scheduled.

   The Ministry of Education ordered publishers of the books on Dec. 2 to revise 41 parts of their descriptions for containing factual errors and views that could "negatively affect students perspective of history."

   Two days later, authors of the books filed a lawsuit against the order, claiming that it had no legal grounds and that the authority bypassed the official process required to change the content of the books through an unauthorized advisory committee of experts.

   The publishers, however, moved separately from the authors by submitting their plans on how to make changes in the books as required by the government the following day.

   "If the amendment order is suspended, it is feared to have a grave influence on the public welfare," judge Shim Jun-bo of the Seoul Administrative Court said.

   The government directive followed protests from liberal opposition lawmakers and historians in August over a right-leaning history textbook that they claimed beautified South Korea's authoritarian governments or contain many factual errors.

   The textbook published by Kyohak Publishing Co. was one of the eight textbooks endorsed by the government for use at high schools from next school year. (Yonhap News)

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