January 17, 2022

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North Korean Student Sentenced To Hard Labour For Watching South Korean Film

North Korean Student Sentenced To Hard Labour For Watching South Korean Film

The middle school student was sentenced to 14 years forced labour

A North Korean student sentenced to hard labour for watching South Korean film under North Korea’s anti-reactionary thought law.

North Korean Student Sentenced To Hard Labour For Watching South Korean FilmThe law calls for anywhere from five to 15 years forced labour for individuals caught watching, listening or storing South Korean films.

This heavy sentence has sparked some controversy in the country, and comes as North Korea’s Government continues to emphasize the need to promote ‘ideological education’ among young people.

A source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Tuesday that on 7th November, a 14-year-old middle school student in Hyesan – identified only by his middle name of Han – was arrested for watching the South Korean film ‘The Man from Nowhere.’

He said the student was sentenced to 14 years of forced labour, despite being busted just five minutes i8nto the film.

According to explanatory material for North Korea’s law against ‘reactionary’ thought and culture obtained by Daily NK, Article 27 calls for anywhere from five to 15 years of forced labour for individuals caught watching, listening to or storing South Korean films, recordings, edited material, books, songs, drawings or photos.

The law does not explicitly call for punishing teenagers, but Han’s harsh sentence suggests that the law is being applied in full to minors as well.

Also, the long sentence appears aimed at sending a message – namely, teens will get no passes on account of their youth.

It’s noteworthy that Han received such a heavy sentence despite watching just five minutes of the film.

North Korean Authorities – aware that South Korean films and TV programs are quite popular among North Korean youth – may be trying to generate a climate of fear by applying the law to the letter.

In September, the Supreme People’s Assembly adopted a law to strengthen youth education, calling for bolstered ideological education.

Since then, North Korean media outlets have been engaged in a propaganda effort calling for an intensive struggle against anti-socialist and non-socialist behaviour.

The student’s parents could also face punishment as they would be ‘guilty by association.’

In fact, article 34 to 38 of the September Education Law calls for fines of KPW 100,000 to 200,000 if ‘irresponsible’ educational efforts result in young people committing crimes related to ‘reactionary thought and culture.’

However, rather than simply paying a fine, offenders could instead be exiled or dragged off to a political prison.

A teenage male in Sinjuiju, North Pyongan Province, was exiled with his parents to a rural region in February after he got caught watching porn at home.

Since last year, North Korean authorities have opened three new political prison camps in Sungho-Ri and Pyongsan County in North Hwanghae Province and Pihyon County in North Pyongan Province.

People imprisoned in these new camps have been found guilty of violating the law against ‘reactionary’ thought and culture, including those who watched foreign TV programs or films, or who used foreign cellphones.

Some have even been imprisoned with their families.

The source said that recently, the ‘unified command of non-socialist and anti-socialist behaviour’ has been busier than ever.

He added that with Han, the middle school student, receiving such a heavy sentence, the authorities will also likely come down hard on his parents, believing his ‘bloodline’ to be a problem.



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