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North Korea calls for death penalty to those who teach the South Korean language

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North Korea has enacted a law that states that those who speak South Korean language will be sentenced to more than six years in prison and those who teach the South Korean language will face the maximum death penalty, demonstrating their strong will to block foreign cultural influence.

Three years ago, the government enacted the “Reactional Ideology Culture Exclusion Act” to try to rule South Korean video distributors with the death penalty.

The document “On knowing and thoroughly observing the demands of the newly adopted Pyongyang Culture and Language Protection Act” obtained and reported by Radio Free Asia (RFA) on the 1st contained some of the contents of the Pyongyang Culture and Language Protection Act adopted in January.

Article 58 of the Act warned, “Those who speak, write, exchange notifications, e-mail, or make prints, recordings, compilations, pictures, photographs, or scrolls written in South Korean language or writing will be sentenced to more than six years of labor prison.”

Article 59 of the Act stipulated that “a person who has learned the tone of South Korean from another person or distributes printed, recorded, edited, pictures, photographs, or scrolls marked in South Korean to others shall be sentenced to more than 10 years of labor prison.

At the eighth meeting of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly held on Jan. 17-18, North Korean government warned its citizens that they are enforcing the Pyongyang Culture and Language Protection Act and strengthening its block on foreign speech, including South Korean.

Details such as the level of punishment for the crimes were not disclosed at the time, but experts expected a strong punishment clause equivalent to the Reactional Ideology and Culture Exclusion Act enacted in 2020 to follow.

Meanwhile, RFA said the document was “delivered to an executive-level official who provided education and lectures to North Koreans early last month.”

In an article on the 26th of last month, the Rodong Newspaper emphasized the importance of Pyongyang culture, the standard North Korean language, saying, “If other languages or miscellaneous words of other cultures sink in, the unique characteristic of the North Korean language will gradually disappear and die out.”