North Koreans banned from laughing for 11 days to mark Kim Jong Il's death anniversary

In the past, those who flouted rules were reportedly "taken away and never seen again"

Reuters file
Reuters file

By Web Desk

Published: Fri 17 Dec 2021, 11:39 AM

North Korea has banned its citizens from laughing, shopping and drinking for 11 days to mark former leader Kim Jong Il's 10th death anniversary.

While the country observes the mourning period, government authorities have instructed the public not to show any signs of happiness. Citizens are also not allowed to partake in any leisure activities or shop for groceries on December 17, the date of Kim Jong Il's death.

Any violation of the ban will result in serious consequences, according to a North Korean who spoke to Radio Free Asia from the north-eastern border city of Sinuiji.

In the past, those who flouted rules were considered to be "ideological criminals" and "were taken away and never seen again," the source said.

"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 was quoted as saying.

Kim Jong Il ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011. He was succeeded by his third and youngest son, current leader Kim Jong Un.

Another source, a resident of the southwestern province of South Hwanghae, said police officers were told to keep an eye on people who fail to look "appropriately upset" during the mourning period.


The anonymous resident said mourning for Kim Jong Il, and his father Kim Il Sung, is affecting North Korean's daily lives.

"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," the source said.

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