People's Cultural Movement Association

Date: 1986

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Theater , Dance , Music

Artist: People's Cultural Movement Association

Confronting Bodies: Chinese Government

Dates of Action: September, 1986

Location: Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Description of Artwork: " ... As of July 1987, the PCMA (the People's Cultural Movement Association, a dissident arts group) claimed 100 active members and 300 additional supporters; most of its members were college students and recent graduates, laborers, farmers and some professional artists, including novelists, playwrights and poets. Members of PCMA initially banded together to promote cultural expression through song, dance, cinema, and dramatic performances. The organization disseminated its ideas by selling booklets and tapes through a network of underground grassroots organizations, including student and church groups. Their ideological objective was to promote the belief that art should be for the common people... "

The Incident: "... The PCMA members interviewed in July, 1987 stated that their ability to put on dramatic or musical performances was restricted by a legal requirement to obtain a permit. They claimed that obtaining a permit, which they said required submitting the content and subject matter of the performance to a government official for review, would have forced a radical overhaul of the substance and style of their presentations. Accordingly, PCMA members stated that they performed only before small groups of students, farmers, factory workers and others. The PCMA participants interviewed claimed that the government had conducted between forty and fifty warrantless searches of the organizations offices between 1984 and 1987, they said, seizing materials deemed objectionable. They also said that during several performances, such as a September 1986 event advocating unification of North and South Korea, government officials broke up the presentation and arrested the performers..."

Results of Incident: "... Some of those arrested for performing without a permit were reportedly released with a suspended sentence and others were still imprisoned (as of July 11, 1987)... "

Source: Asia Watch, "Freedom of Expression in the Republic of Korea," August, 1988, Pg. 21-23