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


North Korea has allegedly executed a 22-year-old man for listening to and sharing K-pop as part of Pyongyang’s ruthless crackdown on foreign culture, according to a human rights report released by South Korea.

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

One testimony in the report speaks of how a young man from South Hwanghae province was publicly executed in 2022 after listening to 70 South Korean songs, watching three films, and distributing them – an act of defiance against the totalitarian dictatorship’s laws against Western culture.

The report, which was published by South Korea’s unification ministry yesterday, also detailed North Korea’s ample efforts to control outside information flow, as it falls under the umbrella of non-socialist culture.

The document compiles testimonies from nearly 650 North Korean defectors.

The ban on K-pop is part of a merciless campaign to shield North Koreans from the ‘malign’ influence of the West and its allies, that began under the former leader, Kim Jong-il and intensified under his son Kim Jong-un’s rule.

According to the US government-funded Radio Free Asia, the regime was cracking down on ‘capitalist’ fashion and hairstyles, targeting skinny jeans and T-shirts bearing foreign words, as well as dyed or long hair.

Other examples of practices North Koreans can be punished for include brides wearing white dresses, women wearing shorts, wearing sunglasses and drinking alcohol from wine glasses – customs which are seen as South Korean.

Experts say that South Korean popular culture seeping into the North could pose a threat to its extremist ideology.

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