Fearing Western influences, Kim Jong-un bans foreign films and clothing

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Anyone caught in possession of large amounts of films from South Korea, the United States or Japan now faces the death penalty. Those caught watching these films face 15 years in prison.


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Pyongyang (bbc) – 07/06/2021 . 12:01

North Korea issues new law banning Western-style films and clothing

  • The penalty for possessing foreign films is death.
  • Watching foreign films carries a 15-year prison sentence.
  • Kim Jong Un is trying to prevent outside information from reaching the North Korean people.
  • The country is more isolated from the outside world than ever after closing its borders last year due to the Corona epidemic.
  • The North Korean regime sees that a sense of resistance can form if cultures from other countries are introduced.

Kim Jong-un recently issued a new law that seeks to eliminate any kind of “foreign influence,” as it refers to the punishment of anyone who has foreign films or wears foreign clothes. but why?

Yoon Mi-so says she was 11 when she first saw a man executed after being arrested for watching a South Korean drama, and the entire neighborhood has been ordered to watch.

“If you don’t, you will be labeled a traitor,” she told the BBC from her home in Seoul.

North Korean soldiers were telling everyone that the penalty for illegal video smuggling was death.

“I remember the man who was blindfolded, and I can still see his tears,” she said. It was painful for me.”

“They put him on a stage, tied him up, and then shot him,” she added.

Kim Jong-un wages war without weapons

Imagine that you are in a state of perpetual siege with no internet, no social media, and few state-controlled TV channels designed to tell you what the country’s leaders want you to hear. This is life in North Korea.

Now its leader Kim Jong Un has imposed even more controls, introducing a new law against what the regime describes as “reactionary thinking.”

Anyone caught in possession of large amounts of films from South Korea, the United States or Japan now faces the death penalty. Those caught watching these films face 15 years in prison.

Recently, Kim wrote a letter to state media calling for the country’s youth league to crack down on “hateful and anti-socialist behavior” among young people. He wants to stop the hairstyles and clothes he has described as “dangerous toxins”.

The newspaper “Daily NK”, citing sources in North Korea, which is issued from Seoul, said that three teenagers were sent to a re-education camp for having their hair cut like South Korean pop artists.

Analysts say he is trying to prevent outside information from reaching the North Korean people, who are already facing difficulties in their daily lives and where millions of people are believed to be starving.

The country is more isolated from the outside world than ever after its borders were closed last year due to the Corona epidemic, and vital supplies and trade with neighboring China stopped. Although some supplies are starting to arrive, imports are still limited.

This isolation exacerbated the economic crisis. Earlier this year, the North Korean leader himself admitted that his people are facing “the worst situation ever that we have to overcome”.

New law to counter “foreign influence” .. “Kim Jong Un” bans foreign films and clothing
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Source: Getty

What does the new law stipulate?

The Daily NK newspaper was the first to obtain a copy of this law.

Editor-in-Chief Lee Sang-young told CNN:BBCThe aim of the law is to “smash” any dreams that the younger generation might be drawing about the south.

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

“Regulations, laws and penalties are getting tougher,” Choi Jong-hoon, one of the few people who managed to flee the country last year, told the BBC.

He added, “Psychologically, when your stomach is full and you watch a South Korean movie, it may be for leisure. But when there is no food and you struggle to live, people get resentful.”

For a number of years, dramas have been published on USB sticks which are now “very popular,” according to Mr. Choi. It is easy to hide and it is also password encrypted.

He added, “If you type the wrong password three times in a row, the USB deletes its contents. You can even set it to happen after incorrect password entry if the content is highly sensitive.”

Mi Soo remembers how she did her best to watch movies.

She says they once borrowed a car battery and connected it to a generator to get enough electricity to power the TV. She remembers watching a South Korean drama called “Stairway to Heaven.”

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But then the regime in Pyongyang began to notice this. Mr. Choi recalls that security forces raided a university around 2002 and found more than 20,000 CDs.

“This was just one university,” he said. Can you imagine how many universities are scattered across the country? The government was shocked. So they made the punishment more severe.”

Kim Geum-hyok says he was only 16 years old in 2009 when he was captured by guards from a special unit set up to hunt down and arrest anyone sharing illegal videos.

He had given a friend some DVDs of South Korean pop music his father had smuggled out of China.

Why do people still do this?

Yoon Mi-so is living her dreams as a model. The first thing she did in her new home was to visit all the places she saw on Stairway to Heaven.

But stories like hers are more rare than ever.

Leaving the country has become almost impossible with the current “shoot to kill” order at the tightly controlled border. It is hard not to expect Kim’s new law to have an even more frightening effect.

Choi, who had to leave his family in the North, believes that watching one or two dramas won’t overturn decades of ideological control.

“We ate plants and insects in order to survive.” A North Korean survivor tells of the hell people face there




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