North Korean textbooks describe South Korea as a “fascist, military dictatorship” filled with “poverty and starvation,” but fewer and fewer North Koreans are buying the propaganda.
North Korean textbooks teach that South Korea is dominated by “foreign powers” that trample on the Korean people and “taint” its history, language and way of life. The North also teaches students that the U.S. must be driven out and South Korea liberated. Textbooks say U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea “fire guns in broad daylight, plunder homes and rape women.” There are also rumors that North Korean defectors have their “eyes gouged out and limbs severed” if they go to South Korea.
But North Koreans from all walks of life prize South Korean-made products. One North Korean trader who crossed over the border into China said South Korean products are traded illicitly in open-air markets and can be sold at high prices if the removed labels are shown to customers.
Another North Korean said, “North Koreans know people in the South are better off, because they watch South Korean TV shows and movies. High-ranking officials and fairly well-off families all have South Korean products at home.”
Around 12 million North Koreans are believed to have access to South Korean TV shows. A government source said South Korean TV can be accessed from areas south of Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province and Wonsan in Kangwon Province.
A survey of 200 North Korean defectors last month by Media Research showed 70.5 percent of them had watched South Korean TV and other media content in the North.