North Korea Has Publicly Executed At Least 7 People For Watching K‑Pop
At least seven people have been publicly executed in North Korea for watching or distributing K‑pop videos, according to a new report from a human rights group.
As outlined by The New York Times, the Seoul-based Transitional Justice Working Group released a report on Wednesday (15 December) detailing the executions under Kim Jong-un’s government.
The publication went on to describe how one of the leader’s tactics to deter citizens from watching or circulating the banned content is to execute offenders in public.
Based on interviews with almost 700 defectors, the report reveals that of the seven who were killed for their involvement with K‑pop, six took place in Hyesan between 2012 and 2014.
The North Korean city sits on the border of China and, as such, is often a place where defectors pass through and content including South Korean entertainment is smuggled into the country.
Therefore, Hyesan is a location that has become a place where Kim’s focus is to crack down on the incoming K‑pop media and instil fear in the population.
“The families of those being executed were often forced to watch the execution,” said the report.
The country’s leader previously referred to K‑pop culture as a ‘vicious cancer’ and fears it could corrupt residents.
A new law adopted last December has led to a crackdown on distributing media from capitalist countries including South Korea, with the maximum penalty being death.
And K‑pop isn’t the only thing being attacked as part of Kim’s culture war — citizens have been warned to avoid all things South Korean including fashion, music, hairstyles and slang.
Last month, it was revealed that a North Korean man was sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling and selling copies of the hit Netflix show Squid Game.
Authorities caught the man after seven high school students were found to be watching the Netflix series, which has been a global phenomenon.
The copy was reportedly smuggled from China in the form of a USB stick and sold to a student in North Korea, who then shared it with their friends.
Severe punishments were also given out to the students who watched the show, including a life sentence for the student who bought the copy.
Speaking to CNN, Jean Lee, a senior fellow at the US-based Wilson Center and the former Pyongyang bureau chief for the Associated Press, explained that rising knowledge of the outside world is a threat to Kim’s regime.
She said: “It absolutely does pose a threat if young North Koreans are watching South Korean dramas and seeing what life is like for Koreans outside their country, because they’re seeing images of Seoul, of how well they’re living, how freely they’re living.”