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  • » 03/16/2006, 00.00

    South Korea – North Korea

    "Yoduk Story", controversial North Korean gulag musical, is on stage



    Despite death threats and constant pressures, official ones included, against the producer, the premiere of a musical denouncing torture in North Korea's "re-education camps" opens in Seoul.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Cs) - A controversial musical set in a North Korean gulag has at last been staged, overcoming pressure from powerful circles to bin the production for fear of offending Pyongyang. Wednesday night saw the opening of "Yoduk Story" at the Seoul KyoYuk Munhwa Hoekwan auditorium.

    "Yoduk Story" centers on Kang Yeon-hwa, the daughter of a party official and a promising dancer. When her father is falsely accused of being a South Korean spy, she and her family are detained in the notorious Yoduk concentration camp, where she is raped and becomes pregnant.

    The audience audibly drew breath when the prisoners describe their camp experiences - which the production says are based on true stories. Characters include a woman who is interned because she failed to take good care of a portrait of Kim Il-sung, and a South Korean prisoner of war who has his tongue cut out.

    It has been a difficult road for producer Chung Seong-san, himself a North Korean defector, that saw him reportedly exposed to death threats and official pressure.

    After news of the impending production spread last year, the theatre that had booked it pulled out, as did investors who had promised 300,000 dollars. There was persistent official pressure, Chung says, but a story about his efforts in a Korean newspaper motivated many private citizens at home and abroad to offer financial help.

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    See also

    18/08/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
    Archbishop of Seoul appeals for religious freedom in North Korea
    Speaking before a congregation of 20,000 people, Mgr Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator for Pyŏngyang, calls for religious freedom in the North, key to the country's social development.

    21/03/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Separated families meet amid rising tensions

    This is the thirteenth such reunion after the first historic meeting in 2000. Meanwhile, tension between the two Koreas remains high thanks to imminent military exercises with the US, "a foreign and hostile nation".



    28/02/2006 SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
    Card. Cheong: "Pope's visit unthinkable while repression in north lasts"

    After his first mass as soon-to-be cardinal, the archbishop of Seoul described as "unacceptable" the approach of the Pyongyang regime. His appointment is a "sign of the new standing of the Korean church and the nation itself".



    07/07/2005 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Seoul approves plan to help North Korean mothers and children
    This decision is made by the country with the lowest birthrate in the world.

    27/01/2006 South Korea - North Korea
    South Korea "widespread" discrimination against refugees from the North

    A survey presented yesterday by the National Human Rights Commission highlights various forms of discrimination against refugees fleeing the North Korean regime.





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