These Everday Privileges That We Enjoy Are Punishable By Death In North Korea

North Korea is the hermit kingdom for a reason. We are basically shut out from ever knowing what goes on on that side of the world. It’s one of the most secretive regimes the world has ever known and it’s actually impressive how much control they’re able to keep over their people in the age of the internet.

With that being said, there are defectors and spies that gather information about what’s going on over there. They help up paint the picture of what living in a dictatorship really looks and feels like. This article explores some of the everyday activities that you and I take for granted that are punishable by death in NK.

No Pictures

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If you’ve ever seen a documentary about North Korea, you know that there are certain areas that you get to take pictures at.

You’re not allowed to take out your camera and snap pics of whatever you want. Most of any tour that you get taken on as a foreigner is off limits from photography.

Dishonoring The Leader

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This might be the least surprising law on this list so I thought I’d get it over with early. Basically, just don’t ever say anything bad about the supreme leader.

That’s also not a guideline or a suggestion — that’s a demand. The repercussions of dishonoring his name is not worth it.

Alcohol Use

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While alcohol isn’t completely banned from North Korea, it’s very tough to get and drink legally. There are only a few designated days which citizens are allowed to drink.

It was reported that an officer in the military was executed with a mortar (not the most fun way to die) because he drank during a mourning period of their supreme leader.

No International Phone Calls

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You can barely keep in contact with people who are living in North Korea, nevermind the people who are living outside of the country.

Several people have been executed by the government for trying to call their relatives that live in South Korea. The worst part is that they can’t even go over and visit.

Calling It North Korea

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Don’t you dare call North Korea by its actual name. If you’re in the country, you need to call it the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

It’s a mouthful, but I can assure you that calling it North Korea isn’t worth it. I don’t even think NK is allowed.

Don’t Bother With Opinions

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If you’re living in North Korea, you might as well just give up on this thing called free speech.

In fact, I think you should probably give up on formulating any sort of opinion that doesn’t match that of Kim Jong-Un. The only opinion you’re allowed to have is one that’s approved by the government.

No Headphones

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If you go to North Korea, don’t be expecting to see posters of Lady Gaga or Beyoncé in the streets any time soon.

In fact, most people won’t even know who they are. All the music must “glorify the regime” and anyone caught listening to foreign music could be executed.

Driving In Korea

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It’s by design that getting around North Korea is difficult. They don’t want people to be able to move around freely on their own will.

In fact, there is less than one car per 1000 people in NK. Most of the cars are in the city and with government officials and business people.

Don’t Ask His Age

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Don’t even dare ask how old Kim Jong-Un is. Not only do most people not know how old he is, but there are many rumors that surround him.

One of them is that he doesn’t poop. This is not a joke, many citizens of North Korea think that their leader doesn’t poop.

Living In Pyongyang

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The government actually determines who lives in the country’s capital city. I also don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out who those people are.

Usually, it’s the people with connections to the government or those that have a lot of money. Very few poor people are allowed to live in the city.


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One of the more bizarre laws in the country is that all haircuts have to be approved by the government. I don’t think it’s too shocking to tell you that a mohawk isn’t a government-approved haircut.

In fact, there are only 28 styles that are approved and they’re all very similar.


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This one is actually a fairly surprising note to learn about North Korea. It’s an atheist state.

There are some harsh penalties to anyone who is caught being religious. In fact, there was a public execution of around 50 Christians in a stadium for possessing a bible. They want people to worship their leader, not a God.

Using The Internet

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The government suppresses what people can and can’t read on the internet. People can only access state-sponsored websites in North Korea.

If you try to hack your way out of them, I think the punishment is fairly obvious. The government wants their citizens reading ONLY what they want them to read.

Denim Jeans

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You’re not allowed to do or wear anything that resembles the United States. This means that wearing denim jeans is strictly prohibited.

I don’t know, I feel like the government is doing their people a favor here because jeans aren’t comfortable anyway. That might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t care.

You Have To Vote

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In theory, I think that North Korea has this right. Voting is absolutely mandatory. You have to go to the polls to vote, so the turnout is impressive.

But, voting for the wrong person may have some unfortunate consequences. You basically have to vote for the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Reading Books

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Every page of every book that is read by the general population of Korea is vetted by the government. There’s one side of the story, and that’s it.

If you show up to NK with even a travel guide from your country, you’re going to hit some immediate resistance. The idea of “foreign propaganda” isn’t taken lightly.

Escaping From Prison

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So, you might be thinking that the idea of escaping from prison is illegal in most places in the world, if not all. But, North Korea unsurprisingly takes it to an entirely different level.

If you try to escape from prison, or you’re successful, your family is punished for four generations (grandparents, parents, kids).

No Mistakes

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You might think your parents expected a lot from you, but let me tell you, those expectations are nothing compared to North Korea.

You’re not just expected to be perfect, you’re punished if you’re not. A journalist somewhat recently just got executed because they published a story with a typo in it.

Escaping The Country

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One of the ways that the North Korean government is able to retain so much power and control over its people is by making them stay in the borders.

It’s very difficult to leave the country. If you are successful in defecting, you’ll be brought back to NK and executed. Many times your family will be as well.

No Pornography


Last but certainly not least, pornography is banned in North Korea. If this comes as a surprise to you after reading this article I think you need to spend some serious time alone.

If you get caught, you will be killed. Kim Jong-Un had his ex-girlfriend executed in front of her family because of a sex tape.