North Korea has imposed a strict ban on laughing, drinking, and shopping for its citizens for a period of 11 days. An 11-day mourning period, which started on December 17, has been imposed in the country to mark the death anniversary of Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea.
He was the father of North Korea's current leader Kim Jong-Un. During the mourning period, citizens are prohibited from indulging in any sort of celebration and leisure activity as per a report by Radio Free Asia's Korean Service. “During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities,” an unnamed resident of Sinuiju, was quoted as saying.
While it is usually a 10-day mourning period that is followed every year, this year the mourning period was extended by another day as 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the leader's death.
During this period, if a resident breaks the rule, he or she can be arrested, the report added. In the past, residents who were found guilty of flouting the restrictions “were arrested and treated as ideological criminals.” The unnamed resident said, “They were taken away and never seen again.”
In addition to the aforementioned restriction, grocery shopping was banned on December 17, the day that Kim Jong-il died in 2011.
That's not all. “People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period,” the unnamed resident was quoted as saying. In the event that there is a death in a household during the mourning period, bereaved family members are not allowed to cry out loud. The body, the report said, must be taken out after it's over.
The same report also quoted another unnamed resident as saying that law enforcement officials were asked to "crack down" on all those flouting rules. "It's a month-long special duty for the police,” the source said.
As per a report in Newsweek, citizens in the capital city of Pyongyang were made to bow their heads and observe three minutes of silence as a siren blared across the city in remembrance of Kim Jong-il on December 17. Additionally, cars, ships and trains all blew their horns on the occasion.