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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea, is a land of mystery and intrigue. Behind the closed doors of this nation lies a world unlike any other, where reality is hard to differentiate from fiction because of the unbelievable practices uncommon to the larger society. The truth is a closely guarded secret but fears not, for here are the most strange and intriguing facts about this fascinating country. From its fascinating news to its unique customs,
North Korea is definitely at the top of the strangest and most vile nations the Earth has ever seen. These 10 insane facts about North Korea are bound to leave you completely dumbfounded. Get ready!!
1) North Korea is the world’s only country ruled by the dead
Neocrocracy is a government that still operates under the control of a dead former leader. The world’s only necrocracy can be found in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea. Here, the late Kim Il-sung holds the title of “Eternal Leader” even after his passing in 1994. He had been the supreme ruler of North Korea since its inception in 1948 and remains so formally. This unique form of governance sets North Korea apart as the only country in the world with a deceased leader who still holds official power.
2) Compulsory 10 years mandatory military service for its citizens
North Korea boasts one of the world’s longest mandatory military service requirements. Before recent reductions, young men were required to serve a staggering 13 years in the military, starting at age 18. It wasn’t until 2003 that the term was reduced to a still substantial 10 years. Women were also included in this obligation, as a 2015 government memo stated that upon graduation from high school, all women must serve in the military until they reach the age of 23, with no exceptions. This results in a formidable armed force with a staggering 6 million paramilitary personnel and 1 million active troops always on duty.
3) People in North Korea cannot name their children after their previous and current Supreme Leaders
Definitely one of the most insane North Korean facts is that North Koreans cannot be named after their present or past supreme leaders. If someone is already named as the leader, before the accession to power, the name must be instantly changed to avoid harsh repercussions. This was also a thing for Kim Jong-un’s father. He also issued a decree about this in 2011 restricting anyone from having the same name as him in the country.
4) People in North Korea have restricted access to media and internet coverage
Advancements in technology have provided people with access to the internet and a vast series of TV shows to choose from. However, in North Korea, the options are limited with only three channels available. Out of these, only two are aired over the weekend, with soap operas from South Korea smuggled into the country. North Koreans have a very limited choice when it comes to their place of residency. Even if they desire to live in the capital city of Pyongyang, they may not be able to do so if they do not meet the criteria of being deemed healthy, loyal, and trustworthy by the government. This privilege is only reserved for the most elite citizens of the country.
5) Prevalence and use of unregulated drugs
unlike the most part of the world where drug abuse is a crime, in North Korea, drug use is common and widely unregulated. Marijuana plants are prevalent and smugglers smuggle them to countries like China for financial gain. Approximately 30% of North Koreans reportedly engage in substance abuse. The use of crystal meth and methamphetamines is also widespread in the country, despite being prohibited. These substances are reportedly used by workers to suppress hunger and enable them to work long hours at factories and farms.
6) There’s an election every five years in North Korea
It may seem unusual that North Korea conducts elections despite being a dictatorship, however, they do so every five years. What distinguishes their elections is that the ballots only list one candidate. Instead of choosing between multiple candidates, voters must indicate their support or opposition to a single candidate by marking either a “yes” or “no” box.
7) Prison camps are everywhere in North Korea
In a country, where leadership is dictatorial, many individuals are incarcerated for treason and various minor offences. Approximately 150,000 to 200,000 citizens reside in prison camps enclosed by electric fencing. Political prisoners experience the worst conditions in these camps and their extended families may also be incarcerated. The prisoners are forced to perform labour-intensive jobs such as mining, logging, and farming with limited access to tools, making the work even more gruelling.
8) North Korean citizens do not know much about the rest of the world.
Apart from having restricted access to media coverage, all kinds of legal television shows are set into domestic programming. This means that the government authorities control what’s being shown and when it’s been on screens meaning information control in North Korea
Also, the Internet does exist, but it has a closed domestic network. Many North Koreans do not know about the current happenings in the world. They would have information only if they smuggle outside the country. Apart from that, they only have first-hand access to the propaganda they are fed by the state on a daily basis.
9) Christmas in North Korea are not celebrated
North Korea does not observe Christmas as a significant event or celebration. Instead, on December 24th, they mark the birthday of Kim Jong-Il’s mother. Similarly, Valentine’s Day is not a special holiday, but February 16th is a notable occasion known as “The General’s Birthday.” This adds to the many fascinating facts about North Korea. According to estimates from the late 1990s and early 2000s, North Korea is largely irreligious with the predominant beliefs being Shamanism and Chondoism. There are also small populations of Buddhists and Christians.
10) Specific dates in North Korea are banned for any celebrations
In North Korea, the death anniversaries of former leaders Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-sung on December 17 and July 8 respectively are observed as sombre days and it is customary to not celebrate or hold any festive event on those days
In conclusion, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is a unique and intriguing country that is often in the news. Known for its secrecy and poverty, this country is a topic of fascination and above listed are some wild facts about the mysterious nation of North Korea.
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