North Koreans have been banned from laughing for 11 days while the country observes the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor, Kin Jong 11.
“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities,” stated a resident of the northeastern city of Sinuiju to Radio Free Asia’s Korea Service.
“In the past, many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals.”
“Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it’s over. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period,” the source related to RFA.
Even grocery shopping is banned on the exact date of Kim Jong ll’s death.
Kim Jong 11 died of a heart attack on December 17 2011 at the age of 69 after ruling the country for 17 years.
The mourning period is usually 10 days every year, however this year it will be increased to 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.
Another source informed RFA that the police were told to be on the lookout for people who fail to look fittingly upset during the mourning period.
“It’s a month-long special duty for the police. I heard that the law enforcement officials cannot sleep at all.”
Another resident complained that the enforced mourning period affects North Korean’s daily lives.
“I just hope that the mourning period for Kim Jong ll will be shortened to one week, just like the mourning period for Kim ll Sung”
Three generations of the Kim family have ruled over North Korea since Kim ll Sung established the country in 1948. After Kim ll Sung died in 1994, his eldest son, Kim Jong ll inherited power.
Kim Jong Un is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong ll and took over upon his father’s death in 2011.
To celebrate and remember the tenth anniversary of Kim Jong ll’s death many provinces across North North Korea are holding concerts in his memory and exhibiting his photography.
Another source told RFA that; “The old soldier’s lecture and propaganda team, made up of discharged military officers in their 50s and 60s are visiting every factory, company and neighbourhood watch unit to educate the people about Kim Jong ll’s hard work and dedication.”
“They came and sang songs praising Kim Jong ll and held a short lecture about his greatness and achievements.”
“It would probably be a better idea to supply the residents with coal or firewood to get them through the winter rather than lectures and propaganda, which is really about as useful as a talking parrot.”
North Koreans are suffering as the country experiences its worse economic crisis in years bought about by its own self-inflicted coronavirus blockade and the international sanctions mounted against it in regards to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Food shortages in North Korea have also been a chronic issue.
With all the crises facing the people of North Korea the laughing ban is no doubt easy to comply with.