A court accuses two 16-year-olds of watching South Korean films and music videos for more than three months. Entertainment in the neighboring country to the south is strictly prohibited under the Stalinist regime.
According to a Western organization, two young men in North Korea were sentenced to twelve years of hard labor for watching South Korean music videos. A court charged the two boys with watching and distributing South Korean (K-pop) films, songs and music videos over a three-month period, the Northern and Southern Development Institute (Sand) said on Friday, citing a corresponding video. The material was recorded by North Korean authorities. Since everyone in the video is wearing masks, the film was probably shot during the corona pandemic.
The video shows two handcuffed teenagers being paraded in front of a large number of other teenagers in a kind of public trial. A narrator said, according to the British BBC: “They are only 16, but they have ruined their own future.” Portal was unable to independently verify the video, which was first reported by the BBC. The Sand organization, which distributed the material, works with North Korean defectors.
Warning to your own population
K-pop has become increasingly popular among young people in several countries in recent years, including North Korea. But South Korean entertainment and imitating your neighbor's way of speaking are strictly prohibited in the isolated North. There is a risk of severe sanctions; the laws were strengthened in 2020.
Given the draconian punishment, the sentencing of the two teenagers appears to be a warning to their own people, said SAND President Choi Kyong-hui, who fled North Korea in 2001. If this is the case, the style of South Korean cultural life appears to be widespread in North Korean society. For North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it is problematic that young people in his country have changed their way of thinking. “I think he’s working to bring them back on the North Korean course.”
Isolated North Korea and democratic South Korea are still officially at war. After the end of the Korean War in 1953, an armistice agreement was reached, but there is no peace treaty. The two countries are separated by a 248-kilometer demilitarized zone. (Portal)