South Korea Passes Anti-leaflet Law Amid Defectors’ Outcry
12/16/2020 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – On Monday, the South Korean parliament voted to formally ban the delivery of printed materials, goods, money and other items of value across the heavily fortified frontier to North Korea.
The law drew criticism of rights activists and defiance from a prominent North Korean defector who vows to continue his activities to bring truth to his motherland, despite the ban, which will come into force in three months. Those who violate the law face up to three years in prison or 30 million won ($27,400) in fines.
For decades, defector groups and Christian organizations have sent anti-tyranny leaflets over the tightly guarded border via balloons or in bottles on border rivers. They also send food, money, medicine, mini radios and flash drives containing South Korean news, dramas, Christian hymns or digital Bibles, which are all banned in the North.
ICC’s partner Park Sang-hak, a defector whose NGO has already been stripped of a license and faces a prosecution investigation, said he would not give up his 15-year campaign.
“I’ll keep sending leaflets to tell the truth because North Koreans have the right to know,” he told Reuters. “I’m not afraid of being jailed”.
While more than 20 defector and rights groups in South Korea challenge the law’s constitutionality, former North Korean diplomat and opposition lawmaker Tae Yong-ho said in a 10-hour filibuster speech that the bill would only help Kim Jong Un’s government continue “enslaving” its population.
Ji Seong-ho, a defector elected to the National Assembly also said, “If the current government truly cares about the twenty-five million North Koreans, it should contemplate the needs of the North Korean people—not the needs of the North Korean authorities.”
Seoul proposed the bill in June after Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, issued her angry rant and threats following some defectors’ activity sending brochures north via balloons.
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