June 9, 2023

The North Korean government has barred citizens from laughing or drinking for 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s death.

The late ruler was at the helm of affairs for 17 years from 1994 to 2011 when he died and was then succeeded by his third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un.

In commemoration of his death, North Koreans have been told to observe the 11-day period of mourning where they are not allowed to laugh or drink alcohol.

“During the mourning period, we must not drink alcohol, laugh or engage in leisure activities,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted a citizen as saying.

The source added that North Koreans are not allowed to go grocery shopping on December 17 – the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death.

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.” source revealed.

After 17 long years of brutal and repressive dictatorship, Kim Jong Il had died of a heart attack on December 17 2011 at the age of 69.

While the mourning period held every year for Kim Jong Il is usually 10 days, this year it will be 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.

Also, the source noted that citizens groups and state-owned companies have been ordered to take care of those in poverty during the period of mourning, as the country grapples with a food crisis.

Meanwhile, the three generations of the Kim family have ruled North Korea since Kim Il Sung established the country in 1948. When Kim Il Sung died in 1994, his eldest son, Kim Jong Il, inherited power.

Kim Jong Un is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong Il and assumed power upon his father’s death in 2011.

North Korea is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, and as a result, suffered chronic food shortages.

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