North Korea publicly executes 22-year-old man for listening to K-pop: Report – India Today

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North Korean authorities publicly executed a 22-year-old man for listening to and sharing K-pop music and films, according to a human rights report released by South Korea’s unification ministry.

According to a report by The Guardian on the 2024 Report on North Korean Human Rights, a young man from South Hwanghae province was executed in 2022 after being found guilty of listening to 70 South Korean songs, watching three films, and sharing them.

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The youth was accused of violating North Korea’s 2020 law prohibiting “reactionary ideology and culture”. The prohibition on South Korean pop culture is part of a broader campaign to shield North Koreans from what is viewed as the corrupting influence of Western culture, initiated under former leader Kim Jong-il and intensified under his son, Kim Jong-un.

K-pop and K-dramas are forms of South Korean film and music entertainment that have taken the world by storm.

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“After watching Korean dramas, many young people wonder, ‘Why do we have to live like this?’ â€æ I thought I’d rather die than live in North Korea,” the defector was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

The report, published in Korean, includes testimonies from 649 North Korean defectors detailing Pyongyang’s crackdown on Western influence and information flow into the Communist nation.

Officials of the Kim Jong Un-led country frequently inspect mobile phones for contact names, expressions, and slang perceived as influenced by South Korean culture.

Activities deemed “reactionary,” such as brides wearing white dresses, grooms carrying brides, wearing sunglasses, or using wine glasses for alcohol, are also met with severe punishment, according to the report.

Previous reports have also cited prohibitions on “capitalist” fashion trends and hairstyles, targeting items like skinny jeans, T-shirts featuring foreign languages, and unconventional hair colours or lengths.

Experts argue that the Kim administration sees the infiltration of South Korean popular culture into North Korean society as a threat to the regime’s demand for unwavering loyalty to the “infallible” Kim dynasty, which has governed since the country’s establishment in 1948.

North Korea and South Korea were divided following World War II into separate zones of occupation by the Soviet Union and the US, respectively, leading to the establishment of distinct governments and eventually the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

Published By:

Ajmal

Published On:

Jun 30, 2024

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