North Korea’s state newspaper has criticized the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017, which was passed by the US Senate on April 24.
The Rodong Sinmun, in an article entitled “The Stupid, Wicked Plan of Those Who Have Forgotten Reality,” claims that “The U.S. is scheming to expand the ideological and cultural invasion of our country even more.”
The article further states that “[t]he U.S. goal is to destroy the foundations of DPRK-style socialism from the inside […] That is the delusion of stupid people who have forgotten history and reality.”
It further adds that US action “would not undercut the belief and will of our people,” and that “[t]he US must get its act together and look at things properly.”
The article refers to those who had defected from North Korea “human beings who ran away after committing crimes against their country and people, and human scum who have abandoned their hometowns and families,” adding that, “The US put them up on a stand [congressional hearings] and held a clown show.”
The article hinted at the North Korean authorities’ sensitivity toward the entry of capitalist ideology and culture into the country, making references to North Koreans “boycotting bourgeois ideology and culture as second nature,” that North Korea’s “socialist culture is refined and healthy,” and that “[outsiders] try to convert our young people, but their efforts are failing.”
Despite these displays of confidence by the state, however, the entry of outside information into North Korea is rapidly expanding. There is evidence that the information is making a major impact on the lives of North Koreans.
South Korean dramas and movies on CDs began flowing into North Korea through China in the early 2000s. The rise of USBs and SD cards along with DVD and MP4 players has brought outside information within reach of many North Koreans.
The North Korean government has in turn long focused on cracking down on the spread of information.
Daily NK reported in March of this year that the “109 Group,” which was formed to monitor the distribution and consumption of foreign video material, has moved with renewed vigor to crackdown on those viewing or distributing South Korean dramas.
The unanimous passing of the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017 by the US Senate forms part of wider efforts to send more outside information into North Korea.
The Act includes reference to distributing “information receiving devices, electronically readable devices, and other information sources into North Korea.” The Act furthermore proposes to expand North Korea-focused broadcasts (which have historically been limited to radio) to “popular music, television, movies, and popular cultural references.”