NEWS

North Korea ‘publicly executes 22-year-old man for listening to K-pop’

North Korea publicly executed a 22-year-old citizen for listening to and sharing K-pop music and films as part of Pyongyang’s ruthless crackdown on outside information and culture.

North Korea

The man from the Hermit Kingdom’s South Hwanghae province was publicly executed in 2022 for listening to 70 South Korean songs, watching three films, and distributing them, according to testimonies published in the North Korean Human Rights report released by the South’s Unification Ministry on Thursday, June 27.

The report, a compilation of testimonies from 649 North Korean defectors – highlights Pyongyang’s brutal crackdown on Western influence and information flow into the isolated country.

The country’s ban on K-pop was implemented under the former leader, Kim Jong-il to shield citizens from the “malign influence” of Western culture and its allies.

It was further tightened under Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, who adopted a new law for the North in 2020, which prohibits “reactionary ideology and culture”.

The North has rejected criticisms of the government’s grave violation of human rights, calling it a part of a conspiracy to overthrow the leadership.

According to the report, North Koreans are routinely subjected to mobile phone inspections for contact name spellings, expressions, and slang terms.

“The government does not tolerate pluralism, bans independent media, civil society organisations and trade unions, and systematically denies all basic liberties, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and freedom of religion and belief,” Human Rights Watch said about North Korea in their world report in 2023.

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