A human rights group reported that North Korea has executed at least seven people over the past decade for watching or distributing K-Pop videos, New York Times Reported.
The Seoul based group, Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) interviewed 683 North Korean defectors since 2015 in an effort to better map out execution sites and numbers. North Korean escapees said executions were carried out at closely monitored sites with authorities keeping a close eye to ensure no information gets out, the TJWG said.
The report was released by Human rights group under the title of “Mapping Killings under Kim Jung-un : North Korea’s Response to International Pressure”.
Report is based on 6 years of research and 683 escapee interviews documenting and mapping three types if locations connected to human rights violations :
- State-sanctioned killing sites
- Sites where the dead are disposed of by the state
- Official locations which may contain documents or other Evidence related to other events.
According to the press release by the group,
- The Mapping Project documented 27 testimonies of state-sanctioned killing sites, of which 23 were public executions. Of the 23 executions, 21 were by firing squad and 2 were by hanging
- The public executions took place in open spaces and fields, airfields, river banks, and hills/mountains. · the most commonly cited offenses announced at public executions included (in descending order of frequency): watching or distributing South Korean videos (7 instances), drug-related crimes (5), prostitution (5), human trafficking (4), murder or attempted murder (3), and “obscene acts” (3).
- Interviewees reported that inhumane treatment of the accused before execution—used as a warning to the public—has persisted under Kim Jong-un. · in some cases pardons were issued to propagandize the benevolence of Kim Jong-un.
The report listed a variety of offenses punishable by death, including seven instances of “watching or distributing South Korean videos,” including videos of popular music from South Korea, known as K-pop. The group notes at least one reported example of a man executed for illegally selling CDs and USBs containing South Korean movies, dramas and music videos, NYT reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong had previously labeled K-Pop as a “vicious cancer” and claimed it will corrupt North Korean minds in the past and North Korean media has also warned that K-pop’s influence could make the North “crumble like a damp wall” due to their “anti-socialist and nonsocialist” influences.
Since taking power a decade ago, Leader Kim has attacked South Korean entertainment — songs, movies and TV dramas — which, he says, corrupts North Koreans’ minds. Under a law adopted last December, those who distribute South Korean entertainment can face the death penalty.
A video which was secretly filmed where a villager and an army officer were publicly executed this year in towns deeper inland for distributing or possessing South Korean entertainment.
In footage shown on the South Korean TV station Channel A last year, a North Korean student was brought before people, including fellow students, and was condemned for possessing a USB stick that held “a movie and 75 songs from South Korea,” NYT reported.
In another report from Radio Free Asia which was published last month, the report said that the North Korea has sentenced a man to death who smuggled and sold copies of the Netflix series “Squid Game” after authorities caught seven high school students watching the Korean-language global hit show.
The smuggler is said to have brought a copy of Squid Game Netflix Series into North Korea back from China and sold USB flash drives containing the series. Sources told RFA that his sentence would be carried out by firing squad.
According to reports from RFA, A student who bought a drive received a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years hard labor, and teachers and school administrators have been fired and face banishment to work in remote mines or themselves, the sources told the RFA.
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