How to Access the Chongryon (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) Website from South Korea

Last Updated by Gray Williams on October 22, 2018

The Chongryon is an abbreviated title for the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. It is populated by long-term Korean residents in Japan and has close ties to North Korea.  The Chongryon associates itself with North Korean ideology and holds fast against the integration of its culture with that of Japan’s, going as far as to restrict marriages with Japanese citizens and refusing to recognize South Korea.

The Chongryon has run a newspaper, called the People’s Korea, for more than 60 years and also hosts a website that appears only in Korean.

Blocked in South Korea

North Korea and South Korea became two separate nations in 1945 at the end of World War II as part of an agreement between the US and the Soviet Union. The Korean War started five years later, involving both countries, the UN, and China. Tensions remained throughout the rest of the Cold War North Korea has continued to press for its own position in world politics and positioning by conducting nuclear missile tests.

As a result, the country has been sanctioned and denounced by others, particularly South Korea, which has blocked approximately 65 North Korean-run websites. South Korea practices Internet censorship on views that don’t align with its governments, based on the country’s National Security Act and in accordance with the Korea Communications Standards Commission.

Anyone found guilty of attempting to access the blocked sites can be sentenced to prison for seven years. Social media is also monitored by South Korea’s censorship, and any links to North Korean websites are blocked.

The Chongryon website is one of those currently on South Korea’s ban list. However, there are ways around that censorship for residents in South Korea’s jurisdiction seeking to access the Chongryon page.

Below are a few different ways to access this and other banned websites in South Korea.

1. Search Engine Web Caches:

Caches hold older, non-active versions of websites, which usually means they aren’t going to trigger any security that might cause you go get blocked. If you are using Google, you can make your webs search and add the term “cache:” right before you hit the search button. This will allow you to see what the page looked like right before the last time it was indexed by Google. This is possible because Google retains snapshots of pages’ content; these snapshots are the cached images being recorded.

2. The Wayback Machine:

The Internet Archive sagely launched in 2001 to begin recording what websites looked like as the Internet grew and grew. Older pages are usually used for research or entertainment purposes, but also can serve as a workaround for censorship. The archive is hardly complete; most records don’t go back farther than 1999, and only the actual days the index was taken are recorded. Still, for recent entries there’s a pretty potent selection of pages to look over if you don’t mind hunting and pecking along the way.

3. Proxies:

Proxies are risky ways to run your web traffic through a server located in another country. Your computer connects to the proxy, which in turn connects to the Internet, and sends and receives data that way. The problem is that there is no encryption in place at either end. This means that while in theory you could visit the Chongryon website from South Korea, whatever ISP you’re using in the country could instantly track the sites you are visiting and charge you with a crime if you are visiting blocked sites.

4. Virtual Private Networks (VPN):

The most reliable and safest way to access the Chongryon website from South Korea is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs are basically proxies clad in a bulletproof vest, with lots of bells and whistles to make your browsing experience as fast and foolproof as possible. To ensure anonymity and privacy, VPNs connect your computer to the remote server by way of an encrypted “tunnel” which makes it impossible for third parties to see what you are attempting to access online. The information you are sending to the Internet is decrypted at the remote server’s location, where your computer is assigned an IP address from that country. If you were attempting to access the Chongryon website, your IP would take on the identity of a country outside of South Korea and sent on to the site.

Security is key when trying to access a North Korean site, which makes SaferVPN a great choice to try. It has a kill switch and a powerful no-logs policy informed by its home state of Israel. If speed is more your thing, ExpressVPN lives up to its name, with some of the best speeds online. And at the top of the charts is NordVPN, with its 9.9 out of 10 rating. It boasts double VPN tunneling and AES 256-bit encryptions.

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Gray Williams
Gray Williams is an experienced data and communications engineer and cross-platform copy and content writer and editor with a keen interest in cybersecurity. He has been working with and researching, VPNs and other online privacy tools for many years.