North Korea has publicly executed at least seven people for watching or distributing K-pop videos in the past decade according to a human rights group.
The Dec. 2021 report was released by the Transitional Justice Working Group, a human rights group based in Seoul, South Korea, based on interviews with 683 North Korean defectors.
The group said it documented testimonies of public executions under North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, noting that one of the most common offenses was “watching or distributing K-pop videos.”
Under a law adopted by Kim, illegal distribution and possession of entertainment from South Korea is punishable by death. The Supreme Leader previously noted that K-dramas, K-pop, K-films, and other forms of entertainment are a “vicious cancer” that corrupt people’s minds.
Last month, a North Korean student was sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling copies of the hit K-drama Squid Game.
The executions reportedly took place between 2012 and 2014, with soldiers said to have even forced citizens and the victims’ families to watch.
The human rights group said it documented at least 23 executions under Kim’s government.
North Korea, however, said in an AFP report that it “respects” human rights and has dismissed allegations of killings as lies told by its defectors to instill fear.