(No) Phones 4 U

March 11, 2010

"Hey, you! Yeah, you with the phone...."

There is a famous photograph of the Korean peninsula at night; a satellite image that shows North Korea to be, quite literally, the dark side of the peninsula. The world’s last Stalinist autocracy can always be relied on to remind everyone that their own particular brand of Korea Kulture Kraziness is of a significantly different sort to the kitsch and kooky, but otherwise non-lethal, type found in the South.

From The  Guardian

A North Korean factory worker has been executed by firing squad for sneaking news out of the country on his illicit mobile phone, Seoul-based radio said today.

The armaments factory worker was accused of divulging the price of rice and other information on living conditions to a friend who had defected to South Korea years ago, Open Radio for North Korea reported.

The man, surnamed Chong, made calls to the defector using an illegal Chinese mobile phone, according to an unnamed North Korean security agency official cited by the report.

The execution took place by firing squad in late January in Hamhung, according to Open Radio for North Korea. The station broadcasts into North Korea, which tightly controls news.

You can often find the word Orwellian used to describe a perceived erosion of liberties in countries like the UK, particularly in reference to the ever-encroaching culture of surveillance there. It’s a valid form of criticism but if you want a real glimpse of O’Brien’s vision of the future in Orwell’s 1984, “a boot stamping on a human face – forever”, then look no further than north of the 38th parallel.

(Brief explanation of the title for non-British readers – Phones 4 U are a well-known mobile phone retailer in the UK)


One comment

  1. That’ll teach Ang Chong to phone up folk. Yeah it’s a lazy pun that throws cold, dismissive piss over the ugly reality of humanity but it saves me having to make an intellectual comment at this time.

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