To commemorate the tenth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s death, the North Korean government has banned citizens from laughing or drinking for 11 days.
According to the Daily Mail, citizens have been told not to show any signs of happiness while North Korea commemorates the late leader’s death.
From 1994 to 2011, the late dictator presided over the country for 17 years, until his death in 2011, when he was replaced by his third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un.
North Koreans have been advised to observe an 11-day mourning period during which they are not permitted to laugh or consume alcohol in honour of his death.
“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted a citizen as saying.
North Koreans are not permitted to go food shopping on December 17, the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death, according to the source.
The source who pleaded anonymity added: “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.”
Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on December 17, 2011, at the age of 69, after 17 years of ruthless and repressive leadership.
While the annual mourning period for Kim Jong Il is generally ten days, it will be eleven this year to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death.
Since Kim Il Sung created North Korea in 1948, three generations of the Kim family have controlled the country. Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung’s eldest son, took power after his father died in 1994.
Kim Jong Un is Kim Jong Il’s third and youngest son, and he ascended to the throne after his father’s death in 2011.
Various areas around North Korea are presenting exhibitions of Kim Jong Il’s photos and performing concerts in his honour to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.
North Korea has been subjected to a slew of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, resulting in chronic food shortages.
Sanctions and the government’s self-imposed coronavirus ban have thrown the country into its worst economic crisis in years.