When the Netflix K-Drama Squid Game started airing, it instantly became a hit worldwide, with viewers praising the series for combining essences of nostalgia, violence, and the harsh reality of capitalism. However, one place that has not had access to the show is North Korea.
Recent reports have shown that North Korean students have been able to find ways to watch the show as they have been unable to watch it through the usual methods.
Radio Free Asia (RFA), an American news media outlet that focuses on North Korean news, recently published an article reporting that high school students caught watching and distributing the show have been subjected to severe punishments.
On the most extreme level, the RFA reported that a man had been sentenced to death after smuggling and selling copies of Squid Game. It all happened after the authorities caught seven high school students watching the series.
According to the sources, the man brought a copy of Squid Game into North Korea back from China and sold USB flash drives containing the series. The report says he will be killed by a firing squad, which is similar to how the Squid Game contestants are killed.
The students caught watching the show, and school staff, have also been subjected to punishments. In the report, RFA explained that many citizens had had various levels of discipline.
A student who bought a drive received a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years hard labor, and teachers and school administrators have been fired and face banishment to work in remote mines or themselves.
The concept of Squid Game looks at a society where heavily indebted people are pitted against each other in Korean children’s games with losing players being put to death. For many viewers, they have compared it to the life of those living under a dictatorship.
It isn’t just Squid Game that has been banned. North Korea has a strict ban on material from the West and South Korea. The law carries a maximum death penalty for watching, keeping, or distributing media from capitalist countries, particularly South Korea and America.
RFA has attempted to contact Netflix for a statement on the issue, but they have not replied.