Fake Pyongyang propaganda floods campuses

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Fake Pyongyang propaganda floods campuses

Police are investigating satirical posters of South Korean President Moon Jae-in scattered across dozens of university campuses over the weekend.

The far-right group behind the posters pledged to launch a national campaign to spread its criticism of the Moon administration among young people - under the guise of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Police said Monday they found the posters at a number of universities in South Jeolla, Busan and Incheon. The group, which goes by the name Jundaehyup, announced on its official Facebook page Saturday that it started hanging three types of posters from that night and hoped to reach 450 universities across the nation.

The posters instantly caught local media attention because they were designed and written to seem like North Korean propaganda posters. One of three two posters was titled “A letter to South Korean students,” and appeared to feature Kim Jong-un’s signature.

Another poster, titled “Let’s subvert the South Korean regime” and “When that day comes,” was signed by Jundaehyup. Below that second poster was a message that said Jundaehyup was planning a candlelight vigil this Saturday at 5 p.m. in front of exit No. 2 of Hyehwa Station in Jongno District, central Seoul. On the far upper-left corner was Moon’s presidential campaign logo, “People First,” and on the upper-right corner was the symbol of the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, a yellow ribbon.

The third poster said a candlelight vigil to impeach Moon was scheduled for this Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. near the same Hyehwa Station exit No. 2.

The posters did not contain any praises of North Korea or Kim but did lampoon Moon and his policies, especially those that are often targeted by South Korean conservatives.

Police believe that Jundaehyup is a far-right group whose name is satire of a better known left-wing group, whose Korean name roughly translates as the National University Students’ Representative Council. The council, which was founded in 1987 by a group of progressive college students at the height of South Korea’s democratization movement, was better known by its Korean abbreviation, Jundaehyeop. The students’ council hung posters across school campuses criticizing Chun Doo Hwan, the president at the time, who rose to power in a military coup and cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Police said Monday they were informed about the posters by school officials who collected them and called 112. Officers retrieved CCTV footage to track down the suspects and said they would determine whether the posters were a libel case. The far-right group probably won’t be charged for breaching the National Security Law for now, police told reporters, because the posters did not praise the North.

The posters, shown on Jundaehyup’s Facebook page, partially said that Moon enabled the South Korean people to realize the importance of energy and turn off their lights at home by shutting down nuclear power plants, a jab at Moon’s core energy policy.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, LEE EUN-JI AND CHOI EUN-KYUNG [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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