by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
The totalitarian North Korean government has taken things to another level.
North Korea has reportedly publicly executed over 50 people this year for crimes such as watching South Korean soap operas.
According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, 10 officials from Kim Jong Un’s own Worker’s Party have been purged due to watching soaps, reported bribery, and “womanizing”.
All television and media are under very strict regulation and control in North Korea. Citizens even have a limited access to the internet, but despite that fact, banned foreign television shows and movies have been gaining popularity in the past few years.
Some are streamed on the internet while others are smuggled in the country as DVDs or on memory sticks and sold on the black market.
“It is truly sad that people in North Korea have to go this far just to watch a foreign film, and even worse that they are being killed for seeing them. The rights we get as U.S. citizens are often taken for granted, and things like this should remind people that not everyone has what we have,” said senior Corinne Franchette.
An anonymous opposer of the North Korean government revealed in a documentary how he smuggled radios, DVDs, and memory sticks into the country, posing as a mushroom importer.
“The men prefer watching action films. Men love their action films! I sent them ‘Skyfall’ recently. The women enjoy watching soap operas and dramas,” said the anonymous black market seller.
North Korea forbids its 24 million people from watching foreign shows and videos out of fear that outside influence could undermine Un’s dictatorship.
“The more people are exposed to such media the more likely they are to become disillusioned with the regime and start wanting to live differently,” said the anonymous North Korean defector.
A group of activists in South Korea has tried to send packages containing anti-regime flyers, $1 bills, and memory sticks with soap operas loaded on them attached to balloons over the border.
Anyone in North Korea caught smuggling or distributing this banned media can be executed for crimes against the state, while viewers have been sentences to work in prison labor camps.
In Wonsan, authorities gathered 10,000 people in a sports stadium to watch the execution of eight people by firing squad for distributing banned foreign media.
“It’s honestly disgusting how much control the regime has over these people. They are brainwashed into thinking that events like this are perfectly normal. Public executions should have been left in Ancient Rome, and definitely not be in 2014,” said senior Casey Schieda.
There is no word on whether these eight executed people included the six officials that were reported missing a few weeks ago.
Un also sparked speculation when he disappeared for 40 days.
Sources say the dictator was recovering from a surgery that removed a cyst from his ankle. This could be a reoccurring issue because of his weight.
With Un wading in and out of the public eye, people are wondering if there is going to be a power struggle in North Korea in the upcoming years.
What do you think about the extreme measures North Korea is taking to protect the regime?