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25 Pictures Smuggled Out of North Korea That Kim Jong-un Doesn’t Want You to See

North Korea or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is anything but democratic. Though its rulers describe the country as self-sufficient, prosperous and well-governed, the stark reality is unsavory. Run by propaganda and controlled awareness about the rest of the world, North Korea has become a place of interest for many tourists and political enthusiasts. Here are some photographs of North Korea taken by two photographers, Michael Huniewicz, who traveled to the country through China, and Eric Lafforgue, who was banned from ever visiting again.

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1. The scene that greets the tourists upon their arrival in Pyongyang. A group of men and women who appear to be walking in a hurry so that the station doesn’t look empty. The train in which Huniewicz arrived was the only train that day.

Pyongyang Train Station
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz

2. A view of Pyongyang from Yanggakdo Hotel where non-Chinese tourists stay. Chinese tourists have relatively more freedom and are allowed to walk around the block or cross the street on their own, without a guide.

View of Pyongyang
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz

3. According to Huniewicz, the guides are usually inclined to show the tourists the glamorous parts of the city, such as these large buildings, and speed up the tour vehicle when they are in less impressive areas.

Pyongyang
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz
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4. Photographers are forbidden to take pictures of North Korean citizens if they are not well-dressed. This man carrying a cylinder on his back was not dressed well enough according to Lafforgue’s guide.

Everyday Life in North Korea
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue

5. Here is a picture of soldiers having a cigarette and having a relaxed moment, again something that isn’t allowed to be photographed.

Relaxing Soldiers
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue

6. Lafforgue explains that guides strongly encourage visitors to take photographs when visiting families where the kids have computers, even though, as in the image shown here, there is no electricity in the home.

North Korean using computers
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue
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7. A policeman watches as two women clean up the road.

Women Cleaning the Road
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz

8. Workers carrying something on their shoulders across a bridge.

North Korean Workers
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz

9. A man using an old tyre as a boat for fishing. Fishing in small lakes in the countryside is a way for those living in remote areas to get fresh food.

Fishing in a Small Lake
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue
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10. Many soldiers of the North Korean army can often be seen performing menial tasks, though the army is said to be the most important in the world. This one was probably helping in a farm.

Soldier Doing Menial Jobs
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue

11. A side of the capital city that the authorities try to hide.

Ordinary Life in North Korea
Image Source: Michal Huniewicz

12. That’s a queue of people waiting to get on to a bus and go to work.

Huge Queue Waiting for Busses
Image Source: Eric Lafforgue
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