NORTH KOREA: How information is smuggled into North Korea

HRWF (27.03.2017) – One of the least understood countries in the world, North Korea, has long been known for its repressive regime. Yet it is far from being an impenetrable black box. Media flow covertly into the country, and fault lines are appearing in the government’s sealed informational borders. In September 2015, the Seoul-based NGO North Korea Strategy Centre published an article about one of the techniques that they use to introduce information in the country:

 

Smoke signals

 

On the border between North Korea and China, along the Tumen and Yalu rivers, thousands of North Korean soldiers keep watch. In one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world, the military’s job is two-fold: stop people getting out; stop information getting in. When you look from the Chinese side, it is difficult to see the guards, but they are there, hiding in strategic holes dug in the ground, sitting quietly and observing.

Every so often the soldiers spot something suspicious floating in the river. One of the ways people smuggle foreign content into North Korea is to put it on a flash drive and hide it in cigarette boxes. You carefully wrap the boxes with plastic bags and tie them to a spare tyre. Parts of the river are only a few metres wide and there you can throw the tyre into the water. The soldiers will see you; later, when nobody is looking at them, they will pick up the tyre, take the cigarettes and find the flash drive inside.

These soldiers are typically young and curious. Being on watch can become lonely and solitary. They are tempted by this China contraband, including flash drives and DVDs with South Korean programmes and foreign movies, all of which are strictly forbidden. The flash drives carry content that is fresh and different from everything that North Koreans know.

The soldiers might watch the content on their computers or portable DVD players, or sell it on the black market. Perhaps they will report it, but then their supervisors will end up watching the content anyway. It will be quickly passed on among family and close friends, and it is through this curiosity that North Koreans are slowly beginning to understand the outside world, personal freedoms and opportunities for choice. This is why the national leader, Kim Jong-un, has recently tried to cut down on banned music through house-to-house searches.

What threatens this authoritarian regime most is external information getting into the ears, minds, and eventually, mouths of its controlled citizens.

 


The book can be purchase on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/North-Koreas-Hidden-Revolution-Transforming/dp/0300217811 

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Also:

HRWF database of news and information on over 70 countries: http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/human-rights-in-the-world/

List of hundreds of documented cases of believers of various faiths in 20 countries: http://hrwf.eu/forb/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/  




NORTH KOREA: The Accusation

Forbidden stories from inside North Korea


Written by an anonymous dissident known to us only by the pseudonym “Bandi”, smuggled out of North Korea and set for publication in seventeen languages around the world, these profound vividly characterized stories tell of life under the totalitarian regimes of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

 

The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from a young mother living among the elite in Pyongyang whose son misbehaves during a political rally, to a former Communist war hero who is deeply disillusioned with the intrusion of the Party into everything he holds dear, to a husband and father who is denied a travel permit and sneaks onto a train in order to visit his critically ill mother. Written with deep emotion and writing talent, The Accusation is a vivid depiction of life in a closed-off one-party state, and also a hopeful testament to the humanity and rich internal life that persists even in such inhumane conditions.

 

This book can be purchased on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Accusation-Forbidden-Stories-Inside-North/dp/0802126200

It will be presented on 22 March 15:00 – 17:00 | European Parliament, ASP Room A3F383

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If you want to be regularly informed about different violations of human rights in the world, click here for a free subscription to our newsletters!

Also:

HRWF database of news and information on over 70 countries: http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/human-rights-in-the-world/

List of hundreds of documented cases of believers of various faiths in 20 countries: http://hrwf.eu/forb/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/