Despite new laws banning the use of anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets being sent across the border from South Korea, an activist group called Fighters for Free North Korea (FFNK) have launched 10 huge balloons filled with 500,000 leaflets, $5,000, and 500 small booklets portraying South Korea’s infrastructure and development progress, compared to that of North Korea.
Before the new law change, propaganda balloons were common practice along the Korean peninsula, mostly coming from the South, but even Pyongyang has sent their own in the past. However, due to the “Inter-Korean Relations Development Act,” the individuals who organised the launch may face a maximum prison sentence of up to 3 three years or a fine of $27,400. The act has been brought into place to improve relations between the two nations, amid a rise in tension in recent months.
The South Korean government has come under harsh criticism from their citizens who feel the NK defectors who sent the balloons over should be acquitted for their actions. Park Sang Hak (53), head of the FFNK made this statement regarding his thoughts on his potential arrest, due to his involvement in the propaganda incident. “This government is trying to cover the ears and eyes of the North Korean people by silencing North Korean human rights groups in South Korea. Despite the fact that the Constitution stipulates the freedom of expression and publication, this government chose to stand on Kim Jong Un’s side and not us North Korean defectors.”
It isn’t just the public who disagree with the “Inter-Korean Relations Development Act”. Numerous officials from South Korea’s executive branch have expressed their concerns, calling for immediate amendments to be made.
Park Sang Hak, the FFNK, and many NK defectors feel that it’s their right to combat the oppressive communist regime that they fought hard to escape from. Nevertheless, there is a fine balance between keeping the peace and doing the right thing.
“You can handcuff me and send me to jail, but anti-Pyongyang leaflets will not be stopped by any threat or violence as long as us North Korean defectors live in this land.” This was the closing statement given to the press by Park. It’s clear that the unrest in the region isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Above – are the 8 foot balloons sent into North Korea via an unknown location on South Korean side of the peninsula.