South Korean Activists Respond To Propaganda Leaflet Ban

( Park Sang Hak, a defector from North Korea who now lives in South Korea, vowed this week to violate legislation that bans the distribution of literature into North Korea.

Hak will continue his 15-year campaign to inform the people of North Korea that they are being lied to by their government through the use of leaflets and materials sent over the border through the use of balloons.

His promise comes after South Korea’s parliament voted for the Development of Inter-Korean Relations Act, a piece of legislation that, among other things, banes the delivery of printed materials, money, or other items over the border into the north. It passed mostly thanks to the support of members of President Moon Jae-in’s governing party, as the South Korean government continues to work towards normalizing relations with North Korea.

The legislation also stops loudspeaker broadcasts which were once used by the South Korean military. Initially a form of psychological warfare designed to inform North Korean residents about issues their communist government didn’t want them to know about, the practice was stopped in 2018 when President Donald Trump facilitated peace talks between the nations.

But Park Sang Hak isn’t giving in, having experienced the terror of living in communist North Korea first hand.

“I’ll keep sending leaflets to tell the truth because North Koreans have the right to know,” he said to news agency Reuters. “I’m not afraid of being jailed.”

Hak risks being sent to prison for up to three years and fined as much as 30 million won, or $27,400.

He isn’t the only one promising to break the law, either. Roughly 20 other organizations in South Korea have said they will challenge the constitutionality of the raw, and even Human Rights Watch stepped in and said that it was a “misguided strategy.”

Normal relations with North Korea could be good for the world, but how can that happen if North Korea doesn’t stop oppressing its people?

“It criminalizes sending remittances to families in North Korea and denies their rights to outside information,” a representation of the Transitional Working Group said. “Such appeasement efforts only risk inviting further North Korean provocations and demands.”

The decision to implement the ban came after Kim Yo Jong, the sister of communist dictator Kim Jong Un, said in June that South Korea should stop spreading the leaflets over the border or face the “worst phase” of the nations’ relations.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which oversees the nation’s relationship with North Korea, said that the new legislation was a “minimal effort” to protect the lives of people living in the border region.