North Korea publicly executes man for listening to K-pop music

North Korea has publicly executed one of its citizens for watching and sharing South Korean films and music.

South Korea’s unification ministry released a human rights report that compiled the testimonies of 649 defectors from the north. One unidentified defector spoke of a 22-year-old man, from South Hwanghae province, who was executed for having listened to 70 South Korean songs and three films in 2022. He had broken a 2020 law that bans “reactionary ideology and culture”.

Other crackdowns detailed in the report included the arrest of brides for wearing white dresses or for grooms cradling their new wives. Wearing sunglasses and drinking alcohol from wine glasses were also problematic, as all are seen as customs native to South Korea.

North Korean officers frequently inspect citizens’ mobile phones to ensure the way names are spelt is in the North Korean fashion. They also check for the expressions and slang terms that are also perceived to be of South Korean influence.

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The country has banned K-pop in an attempt to protect North Koreans from Western culture. The efforts began under the former leader Kim Jong-il. The Kim family regulates popular culture from the south because they fear it is a threat to the absolute loyalty demanded of residents to the Kim dynasty, which founded the country in 1948.

Back in 2021, the North Korean dictator declared war on K-pop and targeted fans of the popular boyband BTS specifically. Control freak Kim declared the music style a “vicious cancer” and says it risks corrupting the people of North Korea – who live under his totalitarian control.

Mr Jong-un’s government started cracking down on the style of music as he regards it as “a serious threat to North Korean socialism”.

TMZ reported: “Leaked documents from the North Korean government show Kim is running an anti-K-Pop campaign against what he calls the ‘vicious cancer’ of South Korean pop groups. The docs, detailed in the New York Times, rip K-Pop for spreading ‘anti-socialist’ sentiment and corrupting the ‘attire, hairstyles, speech, behaviors’ of the youth.”

Days ago, North Korea launched what was thought to be a ballistic missile, Japanese and South Korean officials have said. The launch came hours after South Korea said North Korea floated flying balloons likely to be carrying rubbish across the border for a second consecutive day. It also came before the start of a new trilateral military training exercise involving the United States, South Korea and Japan. It comes after South Korea said the north was flying balloons likely carrying trash over the border for a second consecutive day despite the South’s threat to retaliate with anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts in border areas.

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