October 16, 2014 08:40
Propaganda packages being floated across the border attached to helium balloons try to win North Koreans over with a mixture of information, scandal-mongering and enticements.
Leaflets in the packages detail South Korea's economic success story, criticize the hereditary transfer of power in the North and, in some cases, proselytize on behalf of born-again Christianity. They also contain US$1 bills, mini radios, DVDs, instant noodles, nylon stockings, lighters and other essentials.
North Korean words and expressions are mostly used to make leaflets easy to understand.
Leaflets are geared to information that Pyongyang does not want its people to know.
Recently they have been shedding light on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's execution of his uncle and former eminence grise, Jang Song-taek, as well as the myriad mistresses of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and inside information on Kim Jong-un and wife Ri Sol-ju.
The activities of Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector who died in 2010, are also mentioned.
The two main activist groups that float propaganda leaflets across the border are Fighters for Free North Korea and North Korean Christian Association.
The defectors’ Christian association has flown 1,567 helium balloons with around 470,000 propaganda leaflets across the border this year alone. Each balloon can carry around 30,000 leaflets.
Fighters for Free North Korea also flew some 7-8 million leaflets into North Korea this year. Park Sang-hak, head of the group, said, "Until last year, we used to fly the balloons from ships out in the ocean and were able to send twice as many as we do now. But the number has declined since we were prohibited from doing that."
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