North Koreans have been banned from laughing or mourning or drinking for 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s death.
Government authorities have ordered the public not to show any signs of happiness while North Korea commemorates Kim Jong Il’s death.
Kim ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011. He was succeeded by his third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un.
Ten years after his death, North Koreans are being forced to observe the 11-day period of mourning where they are not allowed to laugh or drink alcohol.
According to reports, a North Korean from the northeastern border city of Sinuiju was quoted to have told Radio Free Asia (RFA), “During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities.”
The source added that North Koreans are not allowed to go grocery shopping on December 17 – the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death.
“In the past, many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals. They were taken away and never seen again.
“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,” they added.
Another source, a resident of the southwestern province of South Hwanghae, said police officers were told to watch for people who fail to look appropriately upset during the mourning period.
“From the first day of December, they will have a special duty to crack down on those who harm the mood of collective mourning.
“It’s a month-long special duty for the police. I heard that law enforcement officials cannot sleep at all, they told RFA.
Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on December 17, 2011, at the age of 69 after ruling the country for 17 years in a brutal and repressive dictatorship.
While the mourning period held every year for his memorial is usually 10 days, this year will be 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.