Call it Choco-vism.
South Korean activists and North Korean defectors launched balloons laden with Choco Pies at North Korea this week after the popular chocolate treat reportedly became the target of a government crackdown.
Nearly 200 activists released the 50 large helium balloons carrying 10,000 Choco Pies — a combination of a chocolate-coated cake and marshmallow — across the North Korea border from the border city of Paju, South Korea, on Wednesday, AFP reported.
The pies had been distributed to North Koreans at factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex — where both South and North Koreans work — but after a Choco Pie black market formed, Pyongyang ordered factories to stop handing them out, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"Embarrassed by the growing popularity of Choco Pie, North Korea banned it as a symbol of capitalism," Choo Sun Hee, one of the organizers of the launch told AFP. "We will continue to send Choco Pie by balloons because it is still one of the most popular foodstuffs especially among hungry North Koreans."
The Choco Pie tradition began after North Korean workers at the complex weren't allowed to receive cash pay for overtime, so the sweet treats were handed out as a perk, the Journal reported. Soon, workers began saving the pies to share with their families or sell.
The chocolate delicacy became so popular that when the complex closed for several months last year, the price of a single pie rose to as much as $23, a day's pay for a North Korean, The Daily Mail reported.