The rights group says North Korea is hanging people for watching K-Pop


SEOUL North Korea has publicly hanged at least seven people for watching or distributing K-pop videos from South Korea over the past decade, beating its leader Kim Jong-un to what he calls “evil cancer”. The human rights report was released on Wednesday.

The Seoul-based Interim Judicial Task Force interviewed 683 people who have fled North Korea since 2015 and helped map out the locations where people have been killed in the north and buried in government-sanctioned public executions. In its latest statement, Mr. The panel said it had documented 23 such executions under Kim’s government.

Since coming to power a decade ago, Mr. Kim says South Korean entertainment songs, movies and TV dramas will spoil the minds of North Koreans. Under a law passed last December, distributors of South Korean entertainment could face the death penalty. Creating an environment for terrorism by publicly executing criminals for viewing or disseminating prohibited content. Is a trick of Kim’s control.

The true extent of public executions cannot be ascertained in an isolated dictatorial state. But, Mr. The Interim Judicial Task Force focused on executions carried out since Kim’s inauguration and executions in the North Korean city of Heisan, a key trading center on China’s border.

Thousands of North Koreans who fled to South Korea have lived or passed away in Heisen. The city of 200,000 people is the main gateway to external information, in which South Korean hobbies are stored on computer memory sticks and transported across the border from China. Therefore, to prevent the intrusion of K-pop, Mr. Heisen focuses on Kim’s efforts.

All but one of the seven executions for watching or distributing South Korean videos took place in Heisen, the report said. Six occurred in Hyesan between 2012 and 2014. Citizens rallied to watch the gruesome scenes, where officials called it a condemned social evil, with each of the three soldiers being shot by a total of nine guns.

“Families of convicts are often forced to watch the execution,” the report said.

Mr. Kim rules North Korea with the help of a cult of personality and a state propaganda machine that controls every aspect of life in the North. All radios and television sets are set up to receive only government broadcasts. People are barred from using the World Wide Web. But some North Koreans are still able to secretly watch South Korean movies and TV shows. As the economy of the North falters amid epidemics and international sanctions, deviations to the South continue.

The number of offenders coming to South Korea has dropped dramatically in recent years, however, making it harder to gather new information in the North. Mr Kim’s government has tightened border controls amid the epidemic.

But the Seoul-based Daily NKE website, which collects news from secret sources in the north, announced that a villager and an army officer had been publicly hanged this year in the deepest cities of the South for distributing or possessing South Korean entertainment.

Also some secret video clips of public hearings and executions have been smuggled out of North Korea. In footage shown on South Korean television channel A last year, a North Korean student was brought in front of a large crowd, including fellow students, and was “condemned for possessing a movie from South Korea and a USB stick containing 75 songs.”

Shin Yoon-ha, while in second grade in North Korea, told Channel A of the public execution that she and her classmates were being watched from the front row. “The prisoner could not walk at all and had to be dragged out,” he added.

Mr. Kim sometimes tried to appear more flexible towards outdoor culture, and allowed state television to play the theme song “Rocky” and show Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters on stage. When he was engaged in summit diplomacy with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in 2018, he invited South Korean K-pop stars to the capital, Pyongyang. But domestically, he has stepped up his crackdown on K-pop, especially in 2019 with President Donald J. After his talks with Trump collapsed and the economy of the North has deteriorated in recent years.

As international investigations into North Korea’s human rights abuses continue, the government appears to be taking steps to prevent information about its public execution from being leaked to the outside world.

Execution of prisoners in market places does not seem to move the sites too far from the borders of China or city centers, and the audience does not seem to scrutinize the execution very closely, the Interim Judicial Task Force said.

Mr. Kim sought to create a public image of a good leader when the size of the crowd gathered at the public hearing was high, with occasional pardons for those sentenced to death, the panel said.

But K-pop seems to be an adversary, Mr. Kim can not be ignored.

North Korea has repeatedly lashed out against what it describes as an invasion of “anti-socialist and non-socialist” influence from the South. It thwarts the spread of South Korean slang among its youth, including the internationally known “Oppa” through the song and video of Sai “Gangnam Style”.

The state media in the North has warned that North Korea will “crumble” like a “wet wall” if the K-pop’s influence does not stop it from “collapsing like a wet wall”.


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