The Blue House, South Korean presidential palace, and Ministry of Unification are obsessed with blocking human rights activists working to disseminate outside information into North Korea.
The South Korean government is facing criticism for kowtowing to the demand made by Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's sister, on June 4, when she threatened to blow up the inter-Korean Liaison Office located in Kaesong, as she made an issue with the leaflet balloon operations by the rights activists.
North Korean soldiers did blow up the office on June 16 by Kim Yo-jong's order. Further, the North Korean Prop-Agit Department prepared its own leaflets to scatter over the South Korean sky.
The South Korean authorities are making life miserable for the balloon activists like Park Sang-hak of FFNK (Fight for Free North Korea) organization. The South Korean government hurriedly proposed legislation to outlaw leaflet operations. The police visited his home and office with search warrants and confiscated loads of documents and computers. They confiscated his cell phone as well. Now, the Ministry of Unification has canceled and nullified the FFNK's registration as a civic NGO (Non-Government Organization), and another organization called Keunsam.
Governor Lee Jae-myung of Gyeonggi-do jumped in the fray and ordered an investigation of Park Sang-hak, Paul Lee Hyun-sook from Voice of Martyrs, Park Jung-o from Keunsam, and Lee Min-bok.
Reverend Paul Lee from Voice of Martyrs announced on June 26 that the mission had launched four balloons with Bibles from Ganghwado at 7:52 PM. The GPS showed that the balloons traveled northward along the DMZ and landed in Chorwon County in North Korea. He added, "We promised North Korean underground Christians to send them Bibles 18 years ago, and we will continue to do so. If this is a crime, then we will gladly accept the punishment."
Ministry of Unification expressed regret regarding the actions by Voice of Martyrs. Jo Hye-shil, the ministry spokesperson, held a briefing and stated, "The government had announced its intention to prohibit sending leaflets and materials to North Korea. Yet, Voice of Martyrs has launched balloons. At present, the authorities are checking the CCTV and other surveillance equipment to verify the claim. We have ordered an investigation, so there will be appropriate measures taking place."
Governor Lee Jae-myung ordered an investigation of Voice of Martyrs as well, for tort and misuse of funds.
North Korean defectors who have worked with Voice of Martyrs' mission said that the mission's operation is transparent in all of their programs, including the Bibles, escapees rescue operations, and aid programs.
Human rights activists here and overseas are voicing strong objections to the South Korean government for oppressing freedom of expression.