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From street kisses to firing squad warnings, “love is no deterrent.”

ORIGINAL LINK : https://www.asiae.co.kr/article/2023122809263875571

Despite North Korean authorities tightening ideological control over the youth, recent reports suggest that young North Koreans are openly expressing affection in public spaces and freely enjoying romantic relationships.

Daily NK recently cited a source from North Hamgyong Province, reporting, “The city and county party in North Korea are intensifying thought control and regulation targeting the youth,” but “the youth are not complying with the control and are instead acting against it.”

North Korean authorities have recently adopted various laws such as ‘Law on the Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture (Dec. 2020)’, ‘Youth Education Guarantee Law (Aug. 2021)’, and ‘Pyongyang Culture Protection Law (Jan. 2023)’, and have strengthened punishments to prevent the youth from deviating from the party line due to the influx of external cultures, including South Korean culture.

In particular, it was reported that the authorities are also cracking down on language, asking people to report those who use South Korean slang or words such as ‘oppa’, ‘I love you’, and ‘boyfriend’, influenced by Hallyu (Korean Wave) culture.

South Korean dramas and films have also influenced the dating culture of North Korean youth. According to the source, not only do couples hold hands in public places, but it’s also common to see them kissing on the streets. Furthermore, influenced by South Korean and American dramas, there has been an increase in ‘older woman-younger man’ relationships.

The source said, “The youth are accustomed to control due to frequent crackdowns, so even if new laws are introduced and punishments are strengthened, they react with an attitude of ‘it will pass.’ No matter how much the crackdown intensifies, it’s meaningless.” They added, “Despite the adoption of new laws after COVID-19 and even witnessing executions due to these laws, the youth say ‘let’s live according to global trends’ and imitate what they see in South Korean dramas and films.”

Moreover, it was reported that the number of young people who think it’s okay not to get married has also increased. The source said, “As life has become harder after COVID-19, there are more young people who prefer to earn and spend money alone without getting married. In the past, it was hard to find a single woman over 30, but now there are many young people in their 30s, both men and women, who have no thoughts of marriage.”

Meanwhile, North Korea is strictly cracking down on video materials such as South Korean dramas. Last July, a man in his thirties was arrested for secretly watching the JTBC drama ‘*Strong Woman Do Bong Soon* (2017). In 2020, it was reported that a man who distributed USBs containing South Korean dramas like ‘*Crash Landing on You*’ was publicly executed in Yanggang Province.

Reported by Intern Reporter Gunari, forsythia26@asiae.co.kr
<ⓒ투자가를 위한 경제콘텐츠 플랫폼, 아시아경제(www.asiae.co.kr) 무단전재 배포금지>

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