Hundreds of South Korean scholars have declared they won't participate in the writing of state-issued history textbooks out of concern that that they will teach distorted views on the country's recent history.

Conservative President Park Geun-hye's government plans to require middle and high schools to use textbooks edited by the government after 2017, instead of allowing schools to choose from eight private publishers, as is currently the case.

Professors from more than 20 South Korean universities on Saturday said they would not contribute to the textbooks because they believe the government is moving to soften descriptions of South Korea's brutal dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s.