A North Korean source told Radio Free Asia (RFA), the ostracized country’s citizens have recently been warned against the use of sarcasm – even indirect criticism – directed against their supreme leader Kim Jong Un. Earlier North Korea has declared wearing blue jeans as illegal as it symbolises American imperialism, which the East Asian nation terms as its enemy. The country, in an attempt to restrict western influence on its people, has also banned piercings, and issued strict guidelines for choosing a hairstyle.
North Korea holds elections with only one candidate after every five years
The warning against sarcasm is being propagated in mass meetings – that started late August – organized by the government. “One state security official personally organized a meeting to alert local residents to potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” a source in province, which lies along the border with China, told RFA’s Korean Service this week.”The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut!‘” the source said. That means, commonly-used expressions like “This is all America’s fault” – which when spoken ironically could be taken to imply criticism of the regime – are a strict no-no.
“This habit of the central authorities of blaming the wrong country when a problem’s cause obviously lies elsewhere has led citizens to mock the party,” RFA’s source said.
Another expression, “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” has also spread quickly from government workers in Pyongyang. That expression became commonly used because people in the country were shocked that Kim Jong Un didn’t attend celebrations held in Russia and China to mark the end of the Second World War, the source said.
This year, expressions of public discontent with the North Korean regime have spread widely in the tightly controlled country. Graffiti mocking government slogans were painted on a construction site in Pyongyang and “more serious” slogans attacking Kim Jong Un personally were found in areas near China, sources told RFA earlier in the year.