North Korea has imposed a ban on laughing, drinking, grocery shopping as the country is entering a mourning period from Friday, marking the 10th death anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il, who ruled the country from 1994 to 2011.
He was succeeded by present leader Kim Jong Un. In a report, Radio Free Asia confirmed the ban, quoting a resident of Sinuiju, a border city of the country. According to the resident, all leisure activities have been banned for this period. Residents can’t go grocery shopping, the report said. The offenders will be arrested as it happens every year, the resident said.
“In the past, many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals,” the unnamed citizen said adding, “They were taken away and never seen again.”
The mourning period will go on for 11 days this year as this is the 10th death anniversary. Generally, a 10-day mourning period is observed every year.
“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 resident added.
The crackdown this year has been going on since the beginning of December as the North Korean Police were preparing for the mourning period.
Kim Jong il died of a heart attack on December 17 in 2011 at the age of 69.
Every year since his father’s death, Kim pays respects at the memorial of his father but this year the state media did not immediately report any public activities by Kim on Friday morning, news agency AP reported. “Great leader and comrade Kim Jong Il is always with us … and he is the eternal ‘suryong’ and sun of ‘juche (self-reliance)’ of our party and revolution,” the North’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an editorial, referring to a revered title reserved for North Korean leaders.