The candidate has a near-100% turnout and the seats are essentially uncompetitive as all of them are chosen and won by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. Because of this, North Korean elections are termed as “show elections” since they only double as unofficial censuses.(source)
7. Students in North Korea are required to pay for chairs they sit on, the desks they use and the heating fuel during winters.
Shockingly, some students are even made to work producing goods for the government. Parents often bribe the teachers to exempt their kids from this type of hard labour or just don’t send them to school, even though it’s an act that violates official policy.(source)
8. Human faeces is used instead of fertiliser in North Korea, due to the severe lack of resources. The supply shortage is so extreme that the citizens are forced to provide it.
North Korea has zero to none amounts of chemical fertiliser, so the government ordered every person to produce hundreds of kilogrammes of faeces. The faeces is usually mixed with straw and used as a replacement, but the excrement is harder to procure than expected. Cases of theft of squat toilets have been reported, and people have installed locks on their lavatories to prevent this.(source)
9. Kim Jong-un was once caught with a bondage magazine during his school days in Switzerland.
source: EPA / Bernie International School
He attended the expensive Liebefeld School near Berne and according to his classmates, was much more interested in football and computer games than his lessons. Also a big fan of Michael Jordan, Kim Jong-un was a good basketball player and was once caught with a bondage magazine in his school bag.(source)
10. It is the year 105 in North Korea, not 2016 because the country marks years from the birth of Kim Il-sung, not Jesus.
North Korea uses the Juche calendar, which was introduced in 1997 and is based on Kim Il-sung’s date of birth: 15 April 1912. The year 1912 is used as Juche 1 and there is no Juche 0. However, the calendar does maintain the Gregorian calendar’s traditional months and the number of days in a month.(source)
11. Distribution, possession and consumption of cannabis is legal in North Korea, and in fact, is recommended as a healthier alternative to tobacco.
Courtesy: Damon Richter
According to Sokeel Park, the director of research and strategy at Liberty In North Korea, cannabis grows wildly in North Korea is even sold abroad by government agencies to earn foreign currency. Marijuana is also as good as legal since there is no stigma attached to it and neither is it fetishized as much as it is in the west.(source)
12. In North Korea, the Internet is limited to a very small circle of the elite (only 1,579 IP addresses exist for a population of 25 million). They also have their own operating system called Red Star and the content is pre-filtered by the state.
Red Star is based on Linux and runs a state-approved search engine. Chats, emails, and forum boards are regularly monitored and Internet access in general is only permitted with special authorization and primarily used for government purposes or by foreigners.(source)
13. North Korea enlists around 2000 attractive women as part of a ‘Pleasure Squad’ who provide entertainment and sexual services for top officials.
source: Reuters / KCNA
The existence of Kim Jong-il’s harems has been known to the South Korean intelligence community. According to the account of a Pleasure Squad defector Mi Hyang, groups of young, attractive women were enlisted regularly to provide entertainment and sexual services to top-level government officials.(source)
14. Border relations between North and South Korea are so tense that when soldiers from the South open the door to the North in the Demilitarized Zone, they hold hands to avoid being physically pulled into the other side.
If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, here’s something. In 2014, South Korean Christians put up a Christmas tree visible from the North Korean Border. North Korea responded by calling it a “tool for psychological warfare” and threatened to bomb it. Bizarrely, North Korea also uses a fax machine to send threats to South Korea.(1,2,3)
15. The North Korean regime has long enforced strict rules on styling one’s hair; most of the barber shops in Pyongyang advertise photos of government-sanctioned haircuts.
Continue reading on the next page…