Tuesday, September 21, 2021

North Korea bans any kind of ‘foreign influence’–slang, jeans and foreign films; Penalty: death

North Korea has recently introduced a sweeping new law which seeks to stamp out any kind of foreign influence – harshly punishing anyone caught with foreign films, clothing or even using slang. But why?

Imagine being in a constant state of lockdown with no internet, no social media and only a few state controlled television channels designed to tell you what the country’s leaders want you to hear – this is life in North Korea.

And now its leader Kim Jong-Un has clamped down further, introducing a sweeping new law against what the regime describes as “reactionary thought”.

Anyone caught with large amounts of media from South Korea, the United States or Japan now faces the death penalty. Those caught watching face prison camp for 15 years.

And it’s not just about what people watch.

Recently, Mr Kim wrote a letter in state media calling on the country’s Youth League to crack down on “unsavoury, individualistic, anti-socialist behaviour” among young people. He wants to stop foreign speech, hairstyles and clothes which he described as “dangerous poisons”.

The Daily NK, an online publication in Seoul with sources in North Korea, reported that three teenagers had been sent to a re-education camp for cutting their hair like K-pop idols and hemming their trousers above their ankles. The BBC cannot verify this account.

Analysts say he is trying to stop outside information reaching the people of North Korea as life in the country becomes increasingly difficult.

Millions of people are thought to be going hungry. Mr Kim wants to ensure they are still being fed the state’s carefully crafted propaganda, rather than gaining glimpses of life according to glitzy K-dramas set south of the border in Seoul, one of Asia’s richest cities.

The country has been more cut off from the outside world than ever before after sealing its border last year in response to the pandemic. Vital supplies and trade from neighbouring China almost ground to a halt. Although some supplies are beginning to get through, imports are still limited.

This self imposed isolation has exacerbated an already failing economy where money is funnelled into the regime’s nuclear ambitions. Earlier this year Mr Kim himself admitted that his people were facing “the worst-ever situation which we have to overcome”.

MUST READ  Prince Andrew served legal documents regarding sexual abuse charge in New York court
What does the law say?

The Daily NK was the first to get hold of a copy of the law.

“It states that if a worker is caught, the head of the factory can be punished, and if a child is problematic, parents can also be punished. The system of mutual monitoring encouraged by the North Korean regime is aggressively reflected in this law,” Editor-in-Chief Lee Sang Yong told the BBC.

“In other words, the regime concluded that a sense of resistance could form if cultures from other countries were introduced,” he said.

Choi Jong-hoon, one of the few defectors to make it out of the country in the last year, told the BBC that “the harder the times, the harsher the regulations, laws, punishments become”.

“Psychologically, when your belly is full and you watch a South Korean film, it might be for leisure. But when there’s no food and it’s a struggle to live, people get disgruntled.”

Will it work?

Previous crackdowns only demonstrated how resourceful people have been in circulating and watching foreign films which are usually smuggled over the border from China.

For a number of years, dramas have been passed around on USB sticks which are now as “common as rocks”, according to Mr Choi. They’re easy to conceal and they’re also password encrypted.

“If you type in the wrong password three times in a row, the USB deletes its contents. You can even set it so this happens after one incorrect input of the password if the content is extra sensitive.

Leaving the country has become almost impossible with the current “shoot-to-kill” order at the tightly controlled border. And it is difficult not to expect Mr Kim’s new law to have more of a chilling effect.

Latest news

Victoria gives $2.7 mn grant for food support to multicultural communities

The Victorian Government is ensuring culturally diverse Victorians doing it tough can still put food on the table by helping more multicultural organisations provide...

Victoria Premier condemns anti-lockdown protests

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews has condemned people for the acts of violence and disruption Melbourne has seen over the last two days. In an official...
MUST READ  Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson dies of Covid in South Africa

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa becomes Deputy CM of Punjab

Newly inducted Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa assumed charge in Chief Minister’s office (2nd Floor) at Punjab Civil Secretariat in the presence of...

Shreyas Talpade to direct and act in ‘SarCar Ki Seva Mei’

Actor Shreyas Talpade, who rose to fame with Subhash Ghai's Iqbal, is now trying his luck in the field of direction. After directing the...

Related news

Victoria gives $2.7 mn grant for food support to multicultural communities

The Victorian Government is ensuring culturally diverse Victorians doing it tough can still put food on the table by helping more multicultural organisations provide...

Victoria Premier condemns anti-lockdown protests

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews has condemned people for the acts of violence and disruption Melbourne has seen over the last two days. In an official...

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa becomes Deputy CM of Punjab

Newly inducted Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa assumed charge in Chief Minister’s office (2nd Floor) at Punjab Civil Secretariat in the presence of...

Shreyas Talpade to direct and act in ‘SarCar Ki Seva Mei’

Actor Shreyas Talpade, who rose to fame with Subhash Ghai's Iqbal, is now trying his luck in the field of direction. After directing the...

Young farmers to be mentored by old hands in Victoria’s new agri program

The Victorian Government is calling on young farmers to take their careers to the next level, with expressions of interest open for the 2022...

‘Friends Bubble’ of three children allowed during school holidays

Children and teenagers aged 18 years and under will be able to create a ‘friends bubble’ to allow home visits provided the adults in...

JobTrainer program: Timber mill workers retrained to work in Wagga Wagga

Around 50 timber mill workers in Wagga Wagga who were set to lose their jobs with the relocation of the Big River timber mill...

NSW records 1,022 new cases, 10 deaths; three LGAs in lockdown

NSW has recorded 1,022 new covid-19 cases and 10 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the...