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North Korea is cracking down on wedding dresses, sunglasses and defectors

North Korea is cracking down on wedding dresses, sunglasses and defectors

This photo, taken on December 4, 2023 and released by North Korea's official news agency KCNA via KNS on December 5, 2023, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivering a speech at the Fifth National Mothers' Congress in Pyongyang. (Photo by KCNA VIA KNS / AFP) / South Korea OFF / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OFF --- EDITOR'S NOTE --- EDITORIAL USE RESTRICTED - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS / THIS PHOTO WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY.  AFP CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE --- /

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addresses the Fifth National Mother Congress in Pyongyang.
Photo: STR / AFP

By means of Flora DruryBBC news

North Korea is waging a widespread crackdown on everything from wedding dresses to slang in an effort to counter the South’s influence, a new report has found.

The report – released by South Korea’s Ministry of Unification – is based on the testimonies of hundreds of defectors.

One example is the case of a 22-year-old who was executed after admitting to listening to South Korean music and distributing films, which was first reported by the BBC last year.

North Korea described last year’s report as “slander and fabrication” but has not yet responded to the new document.

According to collected reports, there have been more searches since 2021, with officials looking for signs of foreign culture, Yonhap news agency reported.

Signs of this include wearing a white wedding dress or lifting the bride on the groom’s back.

It also searches people’s phones and checks for South Korean slang in messages and contacts, the company said.

Sunglasses are also considered counter-revolutionary, the report says, despite North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un being known to wear a pair. However, his father also labeled certain everyday clothing items as counter-revolutionary, including jeans.

It is unclear what the exact punishment is for these violations.

However, the repression against the culture created in South Korea seems to be stricter.

A 2020 law made watching or distributing South Korean entertainment punishable by death.

This year’s report includes an account of a public execution previously revealed by the BBC, in which a 22-year-old farmer was murdered for listening to 70 songs, watching three films and distributing them.

This is believed to be the only report to have emerged so far of an execution carried out under the “Law on the Rejection of Reactionary Ideology and Culture.”

A video from earlier this year showed two teenagers being sentenced to hard labor for a similar offense.

UN Command soldiers (right) and a South Korean soldier (left) stand guard in front of North Korea's Panmon Hall and the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area of ​​the Demilitarized zone on October 4, 2022.

United Nations Command soldiers (right) and a South Korean soldier (left) stand guard in front of North Korea’s Panmon Hall and the Military Demarcation Line separating North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area of ​​the Demilitarized Zone on October 4, 2022.
Photo: AFP / Anthony Wallace

The South Korean report was published at a time of rising tensions between the neighboring countries.

The North has sent more than 2,000 balloons filled with waste across the border since last month, some of which turned out to contain parasites.

A meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin last week has further strained relations.

It is therefore remarkable that this is only the second time the report has been published, while it has been drawn up annually since 2018.

They were previously not released to avoid provocation by North Korea.

– BBC news