A man has been sentenced to death for selling illegal copies of the Squid Game series in North Korea.
the series success Squid Game is unprecedented on Netflix. In a few weeks, it has imposed itself first in the ranking of the most popular series on the SVOD platform. 142 million subscribers had – last October – launched the viewing of the production halfway between Hunger Games and one Black Mirror. The South Korean series has therefore gained international influence, except with its closest neighbor, North Korea. In the country, Western productions are strictly prohibited. In 2020, the regime passed a law on “The elimination of reactionary thought and culture” Radio Free Asia report in an article from November 23.
A man sentenced to death
Despite these bans, teenagers managed to get hold of a copy of the series. A total of 7 high school students were charged with watching Squid Game. Six of the teenagers were sentenced to five years of forced labor, while the seventh, the one who bought a USB drive, received a life sentence. According to media information, the smuggler had brought back a copy on a USB stick from China. The man was sentenced to death by the regime. The teachers and administrators of the school were made redundant. They could be sent to mines, far from their places of residence.
The first in a long series of arrests?
As RFA notes, this is the first application of the law implemented in 2020. The media specifies that investigations are still underway in the country, to dismantle the entire network. A source familiar with the matter explains that the authorities are actively looking for storage devices and CDs containing foreign content. “The inhabitants are all shaking with fear, because they will be ruthlessly punished for buying or selling memory storage devices, no matter how small”.
As a reminder, Squid Game follows the adventures of the participants, all cornered by monstrous debts, in an extraordinary game. To win the 45.6 billion won, they must survive several childhood-inspired trials. But the outcome is fatal, and only one will remain. For the creators, exploring this plot is a way to address a sharp criticism of capitalist societies. The series is also not kind to the North Korean regime.
Indeed, the character embodied by Jung Ho-Yeon is that of a North Korean who came to take refuge with her little brother in Seoul to live a life far from the dictatorship. We also learn that she is participating in this treacherous game to obtain the money necessary for her parents’ crossing. The plot suggests that the prospect of freeing his parents from this oppression of the regime is well worth his sacrifice.