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North Korea Bans Laughing for 11 Days for 10th Anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s Death

North Korea is commemorating the 10th anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s death with a demand for greater public loyalty toward his son and current leader Kim Jong Un, who is grappling with leadership of the country, following pandemic-related hardships.

In his 10 years as leader of North Korea since his father’s death, Kim Jong Un, 37, has maintained the same absolute power enjoyed by Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather and state founder.

At midday last Friday, as a siren blared for three minutes, North Koreans fell silent and bowed in respect for Kim Jong Il. Cars, trains and ships blew their horns, national flags were lowered to half-staff and masses of people climbed Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill to lay flowers and bow before giant statues of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.

“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,” a source told Newsweek.

While it is usually a 10-day mourning period that is followed every year, this year the mourning period was extended by another day as 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the leader’s death.

Featured Image Credit: KCTV/Laura Bicker BBC



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