North Korean teens sentenced to 12 years hard labor for watching K-pop video

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North Korean teens sentenced for watching K-pop video

SEOUL, Jan 20: In a shocking development, video footage released by the South and North Development (SAND) Institute, an organization working with North Korean defectors, reveals North Korean authorities sentencing two teenagers to 12 years of hard labor for watching K-pop. The footage, showcasing the public trial of two 16-year-olds in Pyongyang, convicted of consuming South Korean movies and music videos, was brought to light by SAND.

While Reuters could not independently verify the footage, its existence was first reported by the BBC. North Korea, known for its strict measures against outside influences, has a history of imposing severe sentences on individuals caught enjoying South Korean entertainment or adopting aspects of South Korean culture. This crackdown intensified with the introduction of an “anti-reactionary thought” law in 2020.

Choi Kyong-hui, President of SAND and a Doctor of Political Science at Tokyo University who defected from North Korea in 2001, commented on the footage, suggesting that the heavy punishment aims to serve as a warning across North Korea. Choi noted, “If so, it appears this lifestyle of South Korean culture is prevalent in North Korean society.”

The video, believed to have been edited around 2022, shows a large public trial orchestrated by North Korean authorities. In the footage, two students, clad in grey scrubs, are handcuffed and observed by around 1,000 students in an amphitheater. All individuals, including the convicted 16-year-olds, are seen wearing face masks, indicating the video was likely filmed during the COVID pandemic.

According to the video narrative, the students were sentenced for watching and spreading South Korean movies, music, and music videos over three months. The narrator emphasizes that they were “seduced by foreign culture” and suggests that such influences have led them to “ruin their lives.”

The video also includes scenes of young girls being handcuffed and women in Pyongyang wearing South Korean fashion and hairstyles. Analysts believe that the North Korean regime, under Kim Jong Un, is attempting to counter the influence of South Korean culture, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z, who are seen as changing their perspectives in a way that diverges from the traditional North Korean way of thinking.

It’s crucial to note that North Korea and South Korea remain technically at war, with their 1950-53 conflict concluding in a truce, not a peace treaty. The two nations are divided by a heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ).

This news has been read 467 times!

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