North Korea Warns Against 'Non-Socialist' Behaviors as Holiday Approaches

Nonconforming fashions and hairstyles are forbidden, with youth groups sent out to force compliance.

The Monument to the North Korean Workers' Party in Pyongyang is shown in a file photo.

North Korean authorities are calling for strengthened vigilance against “non-socialist” behavior in advance of a major national holiday, with ruling party youth groups deployed across the country to warn or detain citizens found wearing condemned fashions or hairstyles, North Korean sources say.

The campaign follows earlier efforts aimed at suppressing lifestyles found not to conform with socialist ideals, a source in North Hamgyong province, bordering China, told RFA’s Korean Service.

“Inspection units are being dispatched to public areas,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There have been crackdowns on non-socialist behaviors in the past, but since these hadn’t seemed to help the situation, they are now strengthening the crackdown to put an end to them,” the source said.

“With the approach of the 70th anniversary on Sept. 9 of the founding of the North Korean regime, the Central Committee has given special instructions to root out non-socialist phenomena, such as fashion choices and hairstyles that do not fit the socialist lifestyle,” the source said.

The instructions were given during meetings held at work units and factories, the source said, adding that authorities had described non-socialist behaviors in lectures as “maneuvers” carried out by persons actively opposed to North Korea’s political system.

“These behaviors are now to be handled ‘strictly,’ they said, so residents of the country are definitely feeling uneasy.”

“Because non-socialist behaviors can be observed especially among the young, members of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League have been assigned from each province, county, and city to lead the crackdown,” he said.

“Punishments have become much stricter,” he added.

Also speaking to RFA, a source in Yanggang province, also bordering China, said that for the Sept. 9 anniversary of the Founding of the Republic, “many foreigners are expected to visit major cities, including the capital Pyongyang.”

“Therefore, enforcers are active on the streets and in public areas every day to stop ‘unenlightened’ people from displaying behaviors that might disgrace the country.”

“These events are nothing new, so people are wondering why the authorities are bothering them so much now, and some are expressing negative feelings toward the holiday because they resent the government’s control,” he said.

Reported by Myungchul Lee for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Richard Finney.