As a very closed country, North Korea also applies a number of strict rules that are quite strange. The country, which was formed right after World War II, has a population of about 25 million people, and has been ruled by 3 men from the same family since 1948. Kim Il Sung was North Korea’s first leader until he died in 1994. Power then passed to Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. Although the leader has changed, some strange North Korean rules remain unchanged such as a ban on consuming Coca-Cola and severe penalties for folding newspapers.
1. Punishment of 3 generations
One of the harshest punishments in North Korea. If one person commits a crime and is sent to prison, his family will also be imprisoned with him. This rule is believed to have existed since the 1980s to eliminate the “seed” of enemy developments.
2. Internet access is very limited
North Korea has internet access, but less than 1 percent of the population can use it. Only political leaders, students at elite universities and very few others have access to the internet. Instead, locals can use an intranet called Kwangmyong, which has 1,000-5,500 websites on it but access to international sites is blocked.
3. Do not leave North Korea without permission
Anyone who lives in North Korea and wants to vacation abroad or go out with them must get permission from the government. But that hasn’t stopped many of its citizens from fleeing, heading for safe camps in South Korea. But the border area is guarded by the military and filled with mines, making escape almost impossible. Others tried to flee to China, but anyone caught there was deemed an “illegal immigrant” and immediately deported. North Korea’s strict border controls make it very difficult for its citizens to leave the country. Anyone caught doing so could be sent to a labor camp or even executed.
4. Religion and Bible prohibitions
North Korea officially allows freedom of religion, but the practice is very different. In fact, possession of the Bible was considered illegal because Christianity was not really accepted. Even anyone who practiced Christianity would be arrested and thrown into a forced labor camp. The official ideology of the North Korean nation is Juche, which has its roots in Marxism and Korean nationalism.
5. Do not make international telephone calls
North Korea has a telephone service serving about 3 million people, but prohibits its citizens from making calls outside the country. Anyone caught breaking it will be executed, for example a man in 2007 was sentenced to death.
6. Driving rules
Take a look at the footage on North Korean highways, most of them are empty. That’s because only male government officials are allowed to drive, so it’s estimated that car ownership in North Korea averages just 1 per 100 people.
7. No smiling and drinking alcohol on July 8
July 8 is designated as a national day of mourning to commemorate North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994. That means on July 8 each year citizens are not allowed to smile or speak loudly because it is considered impolite to former state officials. People’s activities are also restricted, including the consumption of liquor.