Posts Tagged ‘Wonsan’

There are awful Governments in the world, and then there are awful Governments.We could rage on about civil rights abuses in Iran – or Israel, for that matter. About the plight of minorities and women throughout much of the middle East. Of endemic corruption in the sub-continent. Of poverty and the breakdown of the rule of law in Africa, and parts of South America. Of poverty and injustice in rich countries like the USA and Britain.

But in yet more hideous news coming out of the brutal fascist dictatorship that is the world’s last unreformed Maoist society – North Korea – reports are emerging that as many as 80 people have been executed “pour encourager les autres”, to dissuade people from accessing media from overseas.

So paranoid is the regime that its own people would rise against it if they knew what life in other countries is really like, especially across the border in the West-leaning capitalist South, that every effort is made to prevent them watching TV shows from outside the country’s borders.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.

(The following report is from Yahoo and others, originating with AFP.)

North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, a South Korean newspaper has reported.

The conservative newspaper JoongAng Ilbo cited a single, unidentified source.

But at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumours that lent credibility to the front-page report.

The source, said to be “familiar” with the North’s internal affairs and recently returned from the country, said the executions were carried out in seven cities on November 3.

In the eastern port of Wonsan, the authorities gathered 10,000 people in a sports stadium to watch the execution of eight people by firing squad, the source quoted one eyewitness as saying.

Most were charged with watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.


North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un attends a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang, September 9 2013. Photo: Reuters

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un attends a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang, September 9 2013. Photo: Reuters


Several of the cities, including Wonsan and Pyongsong in the west, have been designated as special economic zones aimed at attracting foreign investment to boost the North’s moribund economy.

The Seoul-based news website, Daily NK, which is run by North Korean defectors and has a wide network of sources, said it had no information on the executions.

But another defector-run website, North Korea Intellectual Solidarity, said its sources had reported several months ago on plans for a wave of public executions.

“The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mindsets and is pre-emptively trying to scare people off,” said one website official.


A parade marks the 1948 establishment of North Korea. Photo: Reuters

A parade marks the 1948 establishment of North Korea. Photo: Reuters


Watching unsanctioned foreign films or TV – especially those from the capitalist South – is a serious offence in North Korea.

However, efforts to control their distribution have been circumvented by technology, with an increasing number being smuggled in on DVDs, flash drives and mp3 players.

As well as South Korean soap operas, American shows like Desperate Housewives are believed to have a small but avid following.

Mark: it is not news broadcasts or propaganda that the North Korean regime is so frightened of. It is anything that reveals, just hrough pictures of furnishings, food, or street-scapes, how much better off the West is than North Korea. North Korea today is “1984” come to life. Surely it cannot be much longer before this dreadful regime implodes. Once again we all look to China, apparently the only country to whom the North’s regime ever pays any attention, to exercise its influence to ameliorate the behaviour of Kim and his cronies.

But what is particularly frightening is that the North Koreans seem to have even stopped listening to China. Someone needs a viable plan to get rid of the kleptocracy that rules North Korea in comfort while its people live in poverty, ignorance and sheer terror. And fast.