Apparently Kim Jong Un has gone full culture warrior in attempts to "protect" the North from a K-Pop invasion, calling South Korea's pop culture style which has in past years gone global a "vicious cancer" which is corrupting the youth, but is still increasingly making inroads into the DPRK. A new state media quote this week indicated his belief that it would make North Korea "crumble like a damp wall."
These latest statements in the war on K-Pop come after months of Kim himself or other officials in state media ranting against the corrupting "attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors" which comes from outside influence, especially from South Korean music and film, and is threatening to induce changes in the "ideological and mental state" of the country's youth.
Months ago Kim also ordered that authorities across all provinces to "mercilessly" combat increasing "capitalist tendencies" and all external forms of cultural influence.
Multiple international reports are now highlighting a law which was passed last December, but is receiving much more attention in light of the K-Pop comments, given it means a citizen could literally face 15 years of hard labor if they're found to be in possession of South Korean popular entertainment:
It calls for five to 15 years in labor camps for people who watch or possess South Korean entertainment, according to lawmakers in Seoul who were briefed by government intelligence officials, and internal North Korean documents smuggled out by Daily NK, a Seoul-based website. The previous maximum punishment for such crimes was five years of hard labor.
And worse, "dealing" has been made a capital offense...
Those who put material in the hands of North Koreans can face even stiffer punishments, including the death penalty. The new law also calls for up to two years of hard labor for those who "speak, write or sing in South Korean style."
Despite the obvious absurdity and somewhat comic nature of the bizarre law and spectacle of the ongoing "crackdown" - which sounds like it's a write-up in The Onion, it strongly suggests that Pyongyang is legitimately worried at this point about maintaining ideological control over the population.
Where’s Kim Jong Un when you need him, this K Pop garbage is annoying 😂 https://t.co/tIybEF78yY— Janinks💫 (@janinkathegreat) December 13, 2019
There appears to be a growing craving for outside media consumption, also as technology has made it easier to either share things digitally, or easily hide small thumb drives.
On the one hand media smuggled from outside might present the DPRK population with more attractive images of life elsewhere away from under the thumb of the totalitarian regime, while at the same time undoing official North propaganda which depicts South Korea as a "living hell".