A South Korean non-governmental organization released a report on Wednesday, Dec. 15, denouncing that the North Korean communist regime under the leadership of Kim Jong-un has publicly executed nearly 30 people in the last ten years, many of them just for having watched, listened to, or shared South Korean music.
The Seoul-based Working Group for Transitional Justice (WGTJ) documented 27 state executions of North Koreans. Some of them were accused of watching or distributing the modern style of music known as K-pop or Korean pop.
The report claims that only 7 of these 27 people were executed for listening to K-pop while the others had accusations of drug trafficking or prostitution.
The Korean communist regime carried out the public executions with a firing squad, a method widely used in Mao Zedong’s time during the Great Cultural Revolution and other political movements in which people who did not accept the communist doctrine were executed.
The organization claims that since Jong-un took power ten years ago, one of his mandate’s focuses has been to eradicate South Korea’s entertainment industry, which it calls a ‘malicious cancer’ that corrupts people’s minds.
To this end, the regime passed a law in December 2020 banning the distribution of any South Korean entertainment material with the death penalty for those who do not comply.
Due to North Korea’s strict censorship of information, it is difficult to know the number of people executed by the regime.
Therefore, the WGTJ based its report on interviews with 683 North Korean defectors over six years to locate the places where people were killed, giving at least a glimpse of what could be a much larger scale.
The city of Hyesan is a commercial center bordering South Korea with a population of around 200,000. It is one of the smuggling points between the two Koreas and where North Koreans escape seeking political asylum.
That is why Kim Jong-un made Hyesan the focus of his crackdown on South Korea’s entertainment industry.
Six of the seven public executions for ‘trafficking’ k-pop took place in that city, which occurred between 2012 and 2014.
The Korean communist regime initially encouraged people to participate in the public executions in an attempt to intimidate those planning to violate its authority.
In May, the Korean dictator publicly executed Mr. Lee, an engineer at the Wonsan Agricultural Management Commission, for having ‘anti-socialist’ attitudes and selling South Korean films.
The regime forced his daughter, son, and wife to witness the execution along with a crowd of 500 people. Mr. Lee was shot nine times by three people.
But public executions with crowds brought a negative consequence for the communist regime: information of such executions began to leak to the West and groups like the WGTJ, who in turn began to denounce and pressure for the human rights of North Koreans.
“Our findings suggest that the Kim Jong Un regime is paying more attention to human rights issues due to increased international scrutiny,’ said Park Ah-yeong,” said Park Ah-yeong, lead author of the WGTJ report according to Daily Mail.
“This does not mean the human rights situation there is improving—state-led killings continue to take place in ways that may not be as publicly visible as before,” Ah-yeong said.
Last Nov. 25, Radio Free Asia reported on the execution of a student who was caught ‘smuggling’ copies of ‘The Squid Game’ series on a USB stick from China.