Many North Korean youths who have defected from the reclusive regime appear to have been exposed to South Korean media, a survey showed on Monday.
More than half, or 79, of the 144 students who attend Hangyeore Middle and High School said they have watched a South Korean broadcast.
Hangyeore, located in Anseong some 80 kilometers south of Seoul, was founded in 2006 as a school for young North Korean defectors.
The survey on the students was conducted by Yoon Sun-hee, a professor for Hanyang University.
Some 57 of those who answered in the affirmative said they watched DVDs of South Korean movies, while another 43 said they watched videos. Another 15 said they saw South Korean television programs.
A total of 40 students said they watched South Korean broadcasts whenever they wanted. Another 21 said they were exposed about once a month, while six others said once a year. Seven said they had access just once in their lives, while another five said they watched programs daily.
Many of the respondents said they found the programs “interesting.”
“It would be difficult to say that this survey speaks for all of North Korea, but the results were still very surprising,” said Yoon. “They show that North Korean society may be more open than we expected.”
Yoon added that the youths in North Korea, like any other, have the tendency to rebel and seek their own way of life.
An increasing number of North Koreans have been seen to be exposed to South Korean culture since the Gaeseong Industrial Complex opened as a part of an agreement struck in June 2000 during the historic first-ever inter-Korean summit. The complex has more than 100 South Korean firms that employ some 40,000 North Korean employees.
By Kim Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)