North Korea: Distribution of K-pop now carries the death penalty

Thuggy North Korea totalitarian dictator Kim Jung Un is not a fun guy. He enjoys things like forced labour camps, executing rivals with anti-aircraft guns, and engaging in all kinds of nuclear and cybercrimes. He also hates K-pop.

Given that North Korea is right next door to South Korea, home of BTS and dozens of other massively popular groups, this is a problem. So much of this music being smuggled into the North, ol’ Kim believes is a “vicious cancer” contributing the destruction of North Korean culture.

Kim has ordered his minions to stamp out any examples of South Korean pop culture, which obviously includes music from the South. Anyone caught watching or listening to any sort of South Korean entertainment will be sent to a labor camp. Those who are found mimicking the style of South Korean speaking will get two years of hard labour. And those caught distributing entertainment from the South–which includes anything from BTS, one of the most popular groups in the world–will get the death penalty.

This could get very tricky for a lot of Kim’s poor subjects as there’s already plenty of South Korean material in the country. And there are well-established networks that smuggle K-pop north.

According to a report in the New York Times: “Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un. He must reassert his ideological control on the young if he doesn’t want to lose the foundation for the future of his family’s dynastic rule.”

Hey, soft power is very, well, powerful. Kim doesn’t want his people to realize that the rest of the world has it better and is a more fun place to be.

(Via The Daily Beast)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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