North Koreans have been banned from laughing or drinking for 11 days to mark the tenth anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s death.
Government authorities have ordered the public to not show any signs of happiness while North Korea commemorates his death.
Kim Jong Il ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011, and was then succeeded by his third and youngest son, current leader Kim Jong Un.
Now, ten years after his death, North Koreans are being forced 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,’ a North Korean from the northeastern border city of Sinuiju told Radio Free Asia (RFA).
The source added that North Koreans are not allowed to go grocery shopping on December 17 – the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death.
They 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.’
Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on December 17 2011 at the age of 69 after ruling the country for 17 years in a brutal and repressive dictatorship.
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.