Wion Exclusive|From long hair ban to internet use, North Korea defectors reveal bizarre restrictions imposed on citizens
While we sit in our comfort rooms debating about freedom of expression, try asking a North Korean (if that is even possible) what does freedom mean. Wonder if they have ever heard of the expression ‘freedom of life’.
Life in North Korea is tougher than you can ever imagine. We have only heard of their missile tests, nuclear threats and the infamous war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. But not much is known about the lifestyle, culture and traditions of the mysterious land.
From banning short skirts, long hair to use of internet, the list goes on….
“Women are banned from wearing short skirts. They are not allowed to keep long hair and dye their hair,” said one of the defectors talking to Wion.
Many places with no supply of electricity and even proper houses is a stark reminder of how North Koreans have suffered under the brutal rule of Kim Jong-un.
The North Koreans are cut off from the outside world as there are severe restrictions imposed on internet use and television channels.
Another unnamed North Korea defector reveals how Kim Jong-un fears that the citizens may learn about other countries and may develop their own independent opinions. The dictator has banned use of internet and telecasting of Chinese TV channels. The television channels are used as a state propaganda to instigate fear in the mind of North Koreans and show how South Korea is a risky business.
They try to brainwash people about how South Korea is full of hardships and journey to the southern land is dangerous.
But what happens when someone decides to break the rules and government finds out? The guilty ones are shipped to a no electricity zone with no contact with anyone.
With odd restrictions imposed on the citizens, many have fled from the ‘frozen land’ unable to cope up with the rigid rules. Not just entertainment, the education system in North Korea is deeply fractured. Only the richer ones can pursue education while others can only live their life as a labour.
“If you want to study high school, you have to be very rich or else work in a labour factory. The maximum possibility is vocational education,” another defector reveals.
“For me there was no dream, no hope, so I dared to escape. Now I have no fear,” she adds.
Earlier in November, a video of a North Korean soldier went viral which displayed the dramatic bid he made for his freedom. Around 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
But what happens when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un finds out about the defector and his family still lives in North Korea? Their family members are hunted down by the officials and the rest is history. The family members are not spared.
“My aunt was taken into custody when I defected. I have no idea if she is alive or not,” said one of the defectors talking to Wion. The bitter experiences by the escapees show how North Koreans has suffered under the brutal rule by Kim Jong-un.
The bitter experiences by the escapees show how North Koreans has suffered under the dictatorship of rigid Kim Jong-un._ Reuters
THE VOICE TIMES