North Korean who smuggled Squid Game on a flash drive will be executed by firing squad

Trump-Boy in Florida, say “I could’ve done that! Mannnnnn!”

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Free The Squid Six!


Reminds me of a soviet era joke. A KGB strategist comes up with a plan to destroy the USA by smuggling in and planting 10 suitcase nukes. “Ha!”, says his boss," Where are we going to get 10 suitcases?"


but in Soviet Russia, suitcases get you!


I heard it was all the rage, but I haven’t watched it. Why should I?

It’s OK. There’s a battle-royale kind of thing going on, which the kids like, and there’s a pretty blistering indictment of consumer culture, which everybody at least pretends they like.


You would think that the North Korean government would be okay with Squid Game, since it depicts life in the South, and the dog-eat-dog nature of capitalism in general, in line with the narrative that the North has always pushed. The show even has a defector respond with, “I thought things would be better here,” when asked why she defected.


Kinda ironic that Squid Game is critical of capitalism and NK isn’t touting it as warning about their failed system.

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“Moving an apartment block in Alba Iulia in 1987 to make way for a grander boulevard.”

Ceausescu was inspired to create his cult of personality after a state visit to North Korea in 1971. Perhaps the North Koreans were familiar with the concept of heroic feats of civil engineering as spectacle.


There’s an argument that North Korean audiences wouldn’t like Squid Game because of the amount of sex and violence.

(Edited to clarify that I mean North Korean people watching television for pleasure, not the government’s view of whether the show is ideologically or morally acceptable.)

On top of all these restrictions, it’s not clear that there is even interest in North Korea to watch the brutally violent “Squid Game.”

“Given the graphic sex scenes and prominent North Korean defector storyline, the series would be seen as highly sensitive in North Korea — even compared to other South Korean media — decreasing already suppressed sharing behavior even further,” said Sokeel Park of the Liberty in North Korea NGO.

One regular visitor to North Korea, who asked to remain anonymous, also agreed.

“I don’t think any of the North Koreans I know would like or enjoy ‘Squid Game’ at all,” they said. “(It’s) far more violent and complex than what they usually see … I just can’t see it being popular there even if released legally.”

I just remember reading how they were okay with The Host, which was also really violent (but without any sex).


Is that supposed to be what the NK issue with the show was?


The article was talking about whether North Korean people (not the government) would want to watch the show, as opposed to the state media seeing a chance to score a political point by writing about a film that (like all South Korean films, television, music, etc.) North Koreans are not allowed to watch.

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No. All South Korean films and television shows are banned because they are South Korean.


Even if the article is correct in its assumptions about the tastes of North Koreans (which it makes without asking any), I find it hard to believe that exactly 0% of the population would be curious enough to watch it if given the opportunity and that exactly 0% of those would enjoy it.

There is and has long been a thriving black market for South Korean dramas in North Korea.


Squid Game is much more violent than the average South Korean drama. The article you posted calls them “soap operas” and mentions their “syrupy sentimentality”. That is why there is scepticism about whether North Koreans would like Squid Game if they could watch it.

I am not saying that it would be a hit in North Korea. I am saying that there are 25 million people in North Korea, and so I think that it does not make much sense to say that none of those 25 million people would watch and enjoy it.

My main point was simply that it’s ironic that the government took issue with it given that it depicts the South exactly as they themselves depict the South.

I only cited the article to point out that, illicit or not, they have access to Southern content. There is no reason to talk about whether the North Korean populace is into dramas with sex and violence, because I can guarantee you that there will be at least a few people in 25 million who are. Even in a country as homogeneous as North Korea, you will inevitably find a whole tapestry of different types of people, even if their own government would have you believe that they are monolithic.

Remember that this is one unverified and unverifiable report. There is no other evidence that the North Korean regime objects to Squid Game in particular, and, because of the strict quarantine measures there may not have been enough time for any physical media to arrive in the country.

Certainly there are South Korean films and shows that could be used as anti-South propaganda. However, the North Korean regime bans all South Korean content because it doesn’t want North Koreans to be exposed to alien cultural influences such as slang, pop music, fashion and hairstyles. The regime asserts that it has preserved pure and authentic Korean culture, while South Korean culture has been corrupted by capitalism and American imperialism. Preserving the supposed purity of North Korean culture takes priority over the potential propaganda value of South Korean content that portrays its own society in a negative light.

(The reality is that North Korean culture has also been shaped by foreign influences, albeit different ones.)

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Yeah, ultimately, dem’s the rules, so smugglers of Southern content are going to get executed.

But at the same time, they couldn’t make a better “do not defect” story if they tried. It’s like parents who don’t want their kids to do drugs, but won’t let them watch Requiem for a Dream because of the objectionable content.