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N. Korean Comic Pulled Off Stage, Sent to Coal Mine

Lee Choon Hong mentioned 'sensitive issues' onstage: report
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2013 6:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – North Korean authorities weren't laughing over a comedian's "slip of the tongue"—and sent her straight into forced labor, the Daily Mail reports. Lee Choon Hong, known for her mimicry and satire, was performing for workers at a 150,000-acre farm project when she mentioned "sensitive issues," a source told Radio Free Asia. So officials interrupted her show and took her right to a coal mine. Such punishments are typically given to officials and last around 6 months, the source said.

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Lee suffered a similar punishment a few years ago, despite having performed in former leader Kim Jong Il's so-called "Entourage of Delight" in the 1980s and '90s, said a former Pyonyang official now living in South Korea. "When people heard Lee’s news, they sympathized with her," he said. "As comic storytelling is there to make people laugh, it must be very difficult to avoid going against the policies of the ruling party." (Read more North Korea stories.)

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