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North Koreans Banned From Drinking And Laughing On 10th Anniversary Of Kim Jong-Il’s Death

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North Koreans Banned From Drinking And Laughing On 10th Anniversary Of Kim Jong-Il’s Death

As North Korea marks the 10th anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il's death tomorrow (17 December), citizens will be forced to follow strict rules as part of an 11-day mourning period.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports that residents must refrain from drinking alcohol, shopping and even laughing during the time period.

Kim Jong-il was the second supreme leader of North Korea from 1994 to 2011, when he passed away aged 70 and was succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-un.

Although the government normally enforces a ten-day mourning period, this year it has been extended by an extra 24 hours to mark the tenth anniversary of the former leader's death.

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Kim Jong-il died in 2011. Credit: Alamy
Kim Jong-il died in 2011. Credit: Alamy

Speaking to RFA, a North Korean from the north-eastern border city of Sinuiju said: "During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities."

They explained that many activities are off the cards, especially on the anniversary day itself when even grocery shopping is banned.

They explained: "In the past many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals.

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"They were taken away and never seen again.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"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."

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A second source - a resident from the western province of South Hwanghae - revealed that police were warned in advance to look out for people who don't appear to be grieving.

They said: "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."

North Korea has always struggled with food shortages and economic struggles, issues which have only been made worse by the coronavirus crisis.

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The publication went on to explain that state-owned companies and citizens groups are responsible for taking care of those living in poverty and are short of food.

The second source explained: "Social order and safety must be ensured, so companies are responsible for collecting food to give to residents and employees who cannot come to work due to food shortages."

Kim Jong-il. Credit: Alamy
Kim Jong-il. Credit: Alamy

They added that 'residents must also work together to help out the kotjebi', which is a North Korean term for homeless children.

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The source said: "I just hope that the mourning period for Kim Jong-il will be shortened to one week, just like the mourning period for Kim Il-sung.

"Residents are complaining that the living are forced to mourn these two dead people to death."

Words: Daisy Phillipson

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: World News, North Korea

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