Listening to Blackpink, BTS, SHINee or Exo is punishable by death thanks to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s newly declared war on K-pop.
Documents leaked from the North Korean police state reveal a new obsession by Kim to control the flow of “perverse” music deemed a “vicious cancer” on the population.
“Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un,” said Jung Gwang-il, a defector from the North who runs a network that smuggles the K-pop into North Korea, The New York Times reported Friday.
The law, instituted in December, comes with 15 years of hard labor for those convicted of watching or possessing South Korean content.
One smuggler of the popular music, which often generates videos with over 1 billion views on YouTube globally, was killed by a firing squad in May.
“To Kim Jong-un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level,” said Jiro Ishimaru, chief editor of Asia Press International, the Times added. “If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North.”
The internal North Korean files also reveal failed efforts to get citizens to rat out their neighbors to authorities.
“The phenomenon of distributing impure publications and propaganda is not disappearing, but continuing,” the documents read.