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26 Weird and Bizarre Facts about North Korea that reveal the horrifying truth about life there

21. Wearing jeans is banned in North Korea as it is seen as a sign of American imperialism.

jeans
image source: denimtherapy.com

In a whole slew of restrictions, Kim Jong-un recently issued a ban on jeans and piercings. Pyongyang, the country’s elite-infested capital fears that its citizens are being exposed to western clothing, however, the ban will focus primarily on the North Hamgyong province and Yanggang.(source)

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22. North Korea is the world’s only necrocracy: a government that still operates under the rules of a former, dead leader.

kim il-sung monument
image source: gettyimages via mentalfloss.com

The incumbent president of North Korea is Kim Il-Sung, even though he’s been dead for 18 years. He assumed the office of the Eternal Presidency on July 8, 1994, and continues to hold onto power.(source)

23. In 1974, Kim Il-sung took 1,000 Volvo sedans worth €300M from Sweden to North Korea and never paid for them. They were never returned and are currently still being used.

volvo cars
Image source: newsweek.com

Tor Rauden Källstigen, a Swedish photographer and entrepreneur who traveled to North Korea in 2008 says,

“Many of the Volvos were put to serve in the small but very present taxi fleet in Pyongyang.I think I’ve never been inside such an old car even back home in Sweden. This taxi was very well maintained too, close to mint condition it seemed.”

The fact remains that despite the semi-annual reminders of payment by the Swedish risk advisory, North Korea refuses to pay for stealing (rather, scamming) Sweden out of the 1,000 volvos. North Korea now considers Sweden a US pawn that is manipulated by the imperialists.(source)

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24. In North Korea, possessing Bibles, watching South Korean movies and distributing pornography may be punishable by death.

north korean with bible
image credit: CNS photo / Lee Jae-Won, Reuters

In November of 2013, the government executed 80 people in public for watching South Korean movies and owning Bibles. According to one source, women and children were brought into a sports stadium and forced to watch people being shot dead by machine-gun fire. Despite it being illegal, it is estimated that there are 100,000 Christians living in North Korea.(source)

25. North Koreans don’t celebrate birthdays on July 8 and December 17, since those are the dates that Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il died.

facts about north korea
image source: holiday-calendar.com

Approximately 100,000 North Koreans celebrate displaced birthdays on July 9 or December 18 due to this reason. There is a provision for people born on these dates before 1994, where they can change their birthday with official recognition.(source)

26. The national animal of North Korea is the Chollima; a mythical winged horse that supposedly symbolizes heroism and the country’s indomitable spirit.

chollima
image credit : Flickr / Eric Lafforgue

The word Chollima is derived from the Chinese word Qianlima which means talent and ability. This mythical winged horse actually originates from Chinese classics. The national capital Pyongyang hosts a number of Chollima statues, and strangely enough, the North Korean football team is also named the same.(source)

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