Transport, Frontiers

Kwon Yu-mi, 43, a member of South Korea's neo-conservative organization Blue Union, explains propaganda via balloon.

“We send US$1 bills, fleece gloves, scarves, and earmuffs, condoms (with a danger sign for the three Kims) and women’s sanitary pads (an item known to be considered very precious among North Korean women). Most important, we add cartoons and colored leaflets criticizing the North Korean regime.

“My purpose is that the North Koreans may be warm in winter, be thankful to South Korea, and most of all, overthrow the North Korean regime. Our organization, Blue Union, sent 327 balloons in 2011, but only 43 last year. The South Korean public does not approve of propaganda balloons launches. 

“We started in 2010. Just two women sending balloons near the demilitarized zone. I heard that peddlers in northeast China risk their lives to smuggle in Bibles into the North. But the balloons are easy and safe. No one has to risk his or her life. You can also send more stuff. After sending these balloons, young South Korean university students are fulfilled with a sense of patriotism, and feel good. For doing something for someone.

“We write and make the leaflets. They mainly criticize the Kim regime: the grandfather, father, and son. Our images of South Korea include a South Korean figure skater.”


Illustrated by Fanqiao Wang