Certified Hairstyles, 3-Gen Punishment & Other Bizarre Facts About Kim Jong Un’s North Korea
North Korea is the most isolated nation in the world. Neither information nor people can flow in and out of the communist state easily. As its supreme leader Kim Jong Un supposedly battles for life, here are a few bizarre facts about the hermit kingdom:
- 3-generation punishment
If a person commits a crime, his family, his children, his parents are sent to jail or prison camps.
Travel to the country is only possible as part of guided tours and independent travel is not permitted. Tourists can’t leave the hotel without a guide, public transport is not allowed, nor is talking to the locals. Your passport is kept with officials and is returned at your departure. Cameras and mobile phones are often confiscated as well. Any infringement of the rules can lead to punishment. Tourists are given a highly choreographed tour where they visit only authorised sites, shop in approved stores, and speak only to official guides.
- Disrespect to leaders
There are statues and photographs of Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung respectively at most places in the country. People are expected to bow down and slow down their vehicles in front of these. Every person is expected to keep a portrait of the leaders in their homes. Those violating may, even unknowingly, be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
- North Korean calendar
It is year 106th in North Korea, not 2020. The North Korean Juche calendar begins from April 15, 1912, the date of birth of its founder Kim Il-Sung.
- Abandoned skyscraper hotel
The construction of the Ryugyon hotel in Pyongyang began in 1987 but has never been completed due to economic reasons after the downfall of the Soviet Union. The glass exterior of the pyramid-shaped hotel was installed in 2008 by an Egyptian contractor. The 105-room hotel has never hosted a single guest as its interiors are yet to be done.
- There are just 3 TV channels & 28 websites
Everything in North Korea is under scrutiny. The media is state-controlled and programmes shown are government-approved, often propaganda. Citizens can access the internet only from designated places where only 28 websites are approved.
- Jeans are banned
Blue jeans are seen as a symbol of American imperialism and are hence banned. Tourists, however, are allowed to wear them.
- Propaganda village
Near the South Korean border lies a “propaganda village” of Kijong-dong, which boasts of the economic success of North Korea. Experts say this is just a sham and no one actually lives there.
- Approved hairstyles
There are 30 approved hairstyles for men and 15 for women. Hair dyeing is not permitted.
- Pot friendly
Cannabis such as marijuana is not illegal in North Korea.
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