Editor's Introduction

Shifts in Policies towards Korean Diaspora

Kim Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.9 No.1 pp.9-12

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Feature Articles

History and Status of the Overseas Koreans Policies in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Focusing on the Act on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Overseas Koreans Adopted in 2022

Ri Thae Il

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.9 No.1 pp.15-40

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The Act on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Overseas Koreans was adopted as Decree No. 15 of the Ordinance of the Supreme People’s Congress (SPC). This Act is an important sector law that embodies the regulations for the protection of overseas North Korean rights stipulated in Article 15 of the Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which states that: “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea advocates democratic ethno-national rights as well as legal rights and interests recognized by international law for the overseas Koreans.” The Act, consisting of 54 articles divided into five chapters, comprehensively regulates the overseas North Koreans’ rights protection project, including the basic principles of the law as well as social politics, culture, and economic rights of overseas North Koreans, in addition to guidance control and penalties for overseas North Koreans’ businesses. As stipulated in Article 1, the purpose of the Act is to implement the ideas and policies of the Workers’ Party of Korea focusing on overseas North Koreans to ensure the democratic national rights and interests of the compatriots and to actively promote the unification and prosperity of their homeland. The adoption of this Act at the SPC is a significant step toward the full development and expansion of overseas North Koreans via the intensification of the overseas North Koreans’ ethno-national pride and patriotic fervor and meaningful as a powerful legal security for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to develop its business with overseas Koreans. Moreover, from the perspective of the movement of the Koreans in Japan, the adoption of said Act serves as a significant leap forward in terms of a legal security for an expansion in all parameters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, the movement of the Koreans in Japan, and the motherland. With the enactment of this Act, overseas North Koreans have garnered the legal security in which their rights and interests are firmly defended well into the unforeseeable future under the protection of the Republic. The enactment of this law is a Republic’s preferential measure corresponding to the full development of the movement of the Koreans in Japan, a significant event in the history of the movement of the Koreans in Japan and a solid legal security premise to progress the struggle for the protection of compatriots’ rights under the strong protection of the motherland. In fact, there are numerous North Koreans all over the world, and the laws related to overseas Koreans are a reflection of the philosophy and policies related to overseas Koreans under that country. This Act is the implementation of ideas regarding overseas North Koreans and related policies founded on the Juche ideology, the leading ideology of the Republic. Based on the understanding of the history and status of the Republic’s overseas Korean policy, this article describes the political and practical significance of the Overseas Korean Rights Protection Act at the historical stage of revival of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and proposes tasks and methods to demonstrate the effectiveness and living power of the law.

Trends in the Yanbian Region’s Ethnic Relations Viewed through the Chinese Communist Party’s Ethnic Policies: Up Until the Establishment of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture

Chenglong Gao

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.9 No.1 pp.41-74

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The proverb “Three feet of ice is not the result of one cold day” is the most appropriate expression to reflect the history of development of ethnic groups in the Yanbian region. Within the historical developmental orbit of ethnic solidarity, China’s ethnic solidarity has consistently maintained its development in an upward spiral. The Yanbian region’s ethnic solidarity has also gone through this kind of developmental process. The history of Yanbian’s ethnic solidarity can be divided into eight phases, the first of which occurred during the late Qing period when migrants from the Korean peninsula and Han Chinese inside China migrated to the northeastern region and formed relations with the native peoples who lived there. The various ethnic groups who lived in the Yanbian region at this time had adhered to their own cultures in their own ethnic enclaves, so there had not been an opportunity for different ethnic groups to form relations. After that period, however, following the rapid changes in the state of affairs inside and outside of the northeastern region of China, and the merges and collisions between ethnic and regional social communities, a transformation began to emerge in the relations between ethnic groups. The prominent social events of the era included the rallying of the Han Chinese during the period of the Republic of China (ROC), the decline of the Manchus, and the formation of an ethnic Korean society in Yanbian and the northeastern part of China. Moreover, as Japan spread its forces out over the northeastern region, the country used ethnic Koreans to expand its power. This created disharmony in the development of relations between the Han Chinese and ethnic Koreans, leading to the emergence of friction and misunderstanding between the two ethnic groups. After the September 18 Incident of 1931 (also known as the Mukden Incident), as class contradictions (division of nations/ethnicities) shifted to become ethnic contradictions (confrontation between the capitalist class and labor class in capitalist society), a national struggle against the Japanese began. Within this struggle, the various ethnic groups of the Yanbian region organized a united national front against the Japanese under the correct leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and, for 14 years, conducted a desperate and trial-laden struggle that brought down Japanese imperialism. Following this, the CCP conducted a war of liberation that defeated the reactionary Kuomintang clique, established a people’s democratic republic, and rose to become the master of the nation. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its socialist system created a new opportunity for friendship and solidarity between various ethnic groups, put on display the massive centripetal force and cohesiveness of the Chinese nation, and embodied its infinite sense of confidence and self-esteem. The Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region, which was established under the PRC’s Regional Ethnic Autonomy System, brought leadership to the various ethnic groups in the Yanbian region and transformed the region into a pleasant place to live while settling the conflict and misunderstandings that had been formed between different ethnic groups due to historical issues. It further created firm relations among the ethnic groups through socialism’s new style of ethnic equality, solidarity, and prosperity. After the establishment of the PRC, the various ethnic groups in the Yanbian region developed their economy and culture under the support and interest of the CCP and government to build Yanbian into a beautiful cradle for life. Over the past 70 or so years, the various ethnic groups of China have held up the great values of national unity under the correct leadership of the PRC and struggled in unity with one another to overcome difficulties, live together in harmony, and bring about harmonious development. In this process, the various ethnic groups in China have come together to push forward the sacred tasks of building socialism and reforms and opening, writing the grand historical narrative of the ceaseless self-improvement of the Chinese people and the promotion of solidarity and progress. The characteristic feature of this grand historical narrative is that various ethnic groups consistently came together, shoulder-to-shoulder as one, to fight. Today’s ideology of “The Han Chinese people cannot be apart from ethnic minorities, and ethnic minorities cannot be apart from the Han Chinese people” has already become a firm perception shared by the various ethnic groups in the country. In short, the theme of joint solidarity and struggle and joint prosperity and development have already become the common pursuit of the various ethnic groups in China and the Chinese nation is the source of the power that can move forward ceaseless efforts for self-improvement.

Book Review

Adam Cathcart, Christopher Green, and Steven Denney, eds. Decoding the Sino-North Korean Borderlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021. 440 pages. ISBN: 9789462987562 (hardback).

Bomin Ko

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.9 No.1 pp.77-84

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An Interview with Chung Kyung-mo

Interviewer: Kim Jong-gun

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.9 No.1 pp.87-108

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