16-year-old sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for pop videos

16-year-old sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for pop videos
16-year-olds were sentenced to 12 years of forced labor for allegedly watching pop videos.
Image: colourbox.de

A court accused the two boys of watching and distributing films, music and music videos (K-pop) from South Korea over a period of three months, the South and North Development Institute (Sand) said on Friday, citing a corresponding video.

The material was recorded by the authorities in North Korea. Since everyone in the video is wearing face masks, the film was probably recorded during the corona pandemic.

Teenager in handcuffs

The video shows two teenagers in handcuffs being paraded in front of a large number of other teenagers in a kind of public trial. According to the British BBC, a narrator said: “They are only 16 years old, but they have ruined their own future.” Reuters could not independently verify the video, which was first reported by the BBC. The Sand organization, which distributed the material, works with North Korean defectors.

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K-pop has become increasingly popular among young people in numerous countries in recent years, including North Korea. But South Korean entertainment and imitating your neighbor’s way of speaking are strictly forbidden in the isolated North. There is a risk of draconian penalties; laws were tightened in 2020. In view of the draconian punishment, the sentencing of the two teenagers appears to be intended as a warning to their own people, said Sand President Choi Kyong-hui, who fled North Korea in 2001. If this is the case, the lifestyle of South Korean culture appears to be widespread in North Korean society. For North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, it is problematic that young people in his country have changed their way of thinking. “I think he’s working to get them back on the North Korean course.”

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Isolated North Korea and democratic South Korea are officially still at war. After the end of the Korean War in 1953, an armistice agreement was sealed, but there is no peace treaty. The two countries are separated by a 248 kilometer long demilitarized zone.

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