As South Korean K-pop groups like BTS and Blackpink become international hits, officials in Pyongyang in North Korea are cracking down on pop music. Kim Jong-un is believed to be increasingly concerned about foreign influence in this secret nation.
One of the regime’s propaganda sites likened pop music to “slavery” and said people are tied to “incredibly unfair contracts”.
They said artists are “bound to incredibly unfair contracts from an early age, held in training and treated like slaves after being stripped of their body, mind and soul by conglomerate leaders. vicious and corrupt art-related ”.
Keith Howard, of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said the only record company in North Korea is “state-owned” and only approved performances are allowed.
He told CNN: “There is no evidence that people create their own music outside of what is centrally permitted.
“The only record company is state owned and no performance would be allowed outside of what is permitted.
“You are not even allowed to create new words (on existing songs), and if you did, you should be extremely careful, because if they were deemed inappropriate you would be in trouble.”
This latest crackdown follows a series of new measures introduced in the hermit nation to stop the influence of foreign countries.
Last year, Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, called the rebels who send leaflets, radios, US currency and Bibles across the border “human scum”.
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During the coronavirus pandemic, the Hermit State continued to claim that no cases of the deadly virus had been reported.
To combat the spread of the virus, the Supreme Leader introduced a draconian rule allowing guards to shoot anyone trying to cross the border.
According to US forces in the South, the North Korean Special Operations Forces (SOF) are patrolling the border with China and have been ordered to shoot to kill anyone attempting to enter the country by these means.
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Robert Abrams said the border closures increased demand for contraband, forcing authorities to intervene.
Mr. Abrams said North Korea had introduced a “buffer zone, one or two kilometers from the Chinese border”.
He said last year, “They have North Korean SOFs there… Strike forces, they have shoot-to-kill orders.
“The current regime – the military – is primarily focused on their recovery and mitigating the risk of COVID-19.
“We see no indication at this time of any sort of rampage.”
Goods imported into the country also became scarce as trade declined due to the new restrictions.