These Photos Show You What North Korea Is Like Right Now
In this modern age of technological advancement and widespread telecommunication, access to information about virtually anything in the world should be commonplace, right? Well, not quite: one country which has resisted widespread documentation of its culture and day-to-day happenings is the East-Asian country of North Korea. Originally considered as one nation along with South Korea, political ties between these two countries were eventually severed after the Second World War with North Korea turning into a communist nation while South Korea adopted a democratic form of governance.
Due to strict censorship and even more restrictive laws implemented under the Kim Jong-un administration, there is hardly any available documentation on the daily lives of North Koreans in their own country. However, there are a few Western photographers who have risked their lives to steal a few shots in order to show the rest of the world what it’s like living in such an impoverished nation. Continue reading to find out the jewels which have been brought back by these brave photographers.
The North Korean Army In Action
However, nuclear weapons aren’t the only forces of mass destruction in the army’s arsenal. The army also boasts a substantial number of chemical weapons, although, yet again, the exact number remains undisclosed. The army utilizes several weapons which are prohibited for use in many countries throughout the world, including various missiles and lasers. All Koreans who have passed the age of 18 are required to enroll in the army.
More Than Just Nuclear Weapons
Boasting one of the world’s most powerful military forces, it is rumored that Kim Jung-un invests an astronomical amount of money and resources into the upkeep of the North Korean Army. Rumored to own an estimated 60 nuclear weapons, the North Korean Army is one of the world’s leading nuclear powers. Having said that, the actual number of nuclear weapons in the army’s possession is unknown, which is a cause for concern for many nations throughout the world.
A Controversial Schooling System
Widely reported to have one of the most controversial schooling systems in the world, it is mandatory for all North Korean students to buy their own desks, chairs, and heating appliances to keep warm during the winter season. This comes as quite a shocker, especially given that all primary and secondary schools are 100% state-funded and non-discriminatory, meaning that any and everyone is entitled to attend.
Obligatory Hard Labor
It doesn’t stop there: students must also work while attending school in order to assist in the production of some of the state’s goods. This can create quite a strain on a student’s life from a young age, as balancing academic duties along with intermittent hard labor is not a task for the faint at heart. That said, some parents who wish for their child to concentrate exclusively on school do attempt to bribe schoolteachers to not report their child’s absence at work. Some parents choose even more radical approaches, such as keeping the child at home indefinitely, causing him or her to lose out on one of the most valuable investment’s one can make – getting an education.
Hardly Any Paved Roads
If you ever decide to visit North Korea, don’t expect to see many paved roads. Given that the government doesn’t invest much money in road infrastructural development and maintenance, the bulk of North Korean roads remains unpaved. Actually, an estimated 97% of North Korean roads have not been paved, accounting for roughly 3% of completed roads.
North Korea’s Roads Can’t Be Compared To Those In The United States
On a slightly more fun note, did you know that if all 450 miles of road in North Korea were combined (and completed), they would completely spiral Pluto 3.5 times? Surprisingly, however, that same length of road would not cover ground from Cleveland to New York.
North Korea’s GDP Fails To Match Bill Gate’s Net Worth
Being one of the most impoverished East-Asian countries, it is reported that North Korea has an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of $17.4 billion. This pales vastly in comparison to some of the top-earning countries in the world, such as the United States of America which has a GDP of roughly $16.77 trillion. Actually, North Korea’s GDP doesn’t even hold a candle to Bill Gate’s net worth which was estimated in 2017 to be around $90.2 billion.
How The GDP Shows Poverty In North Korea
North Korea’s low gross domestic product is a testament to the extreme poverty speculated by many to exist in the country. Of course, due to censorship, media manipulation and non-extensive research, it is difficult to truly determine the extent of poverty in North Korea. However, the vast majority of people attribute the widespread poverty there to the corrupt government’s mismanagement of its centrally planned economic system.
Widespread Corruption And Rife Governmental Theft
Speaking of corruption, in 2017, North Korea and Somalia were both declared as the most corrupt countries in the world, at least according to the Corruption Perceptions Index. Using a scale of 0-100, with 0 being extremely corrupt and 100 representing extremely non-corrupt, both nations were awarded a rating of 8. This, compared to another nation such as The United States of America which achieved a score of 75 out of 100 possible points in the very same report, raises quite a few alarm bells concerning the management of funds by the North Korean government. Now, in comparison to the rest of the world, 68% of countries, including North Korea, all fall within the category of having extremely corrupt governments. Although the report also indicates that no country has a perfect anti-corruption rate, North Korea’s score is a far cry from being acceptable.
North Korea Isn’t As Big As You Might Think
With all the international controversy and notoriety North Korea has gained over the years, anyone who doesn’t know better would think the country is as large as an entire continent. Well, that can’t be any further from the truth: in fact, the country is fairly small. North Korea’s territory spans a total of 120,538 square kilometers, which means that the country is only marginally bigger than Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, of North Korea’s land, an estimated 80.5% is unsuitable for agricultural cultivation. This is quite surprising, given that almost 40 years ago North Korea used to be regarded as having had one of the world’s most advanced agricultural systems. Sadly, about 30 years ago, the country was affected by a multitude of natural disasters which left its agricultural industry in shambles.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Literally
If for some reason you find yourself planning a trip to North Korea, you don’t need to worry about finding a guide – The North Korean government will appoint you one, exclusively for you. Of course, that’s assuming that your trip has been given the nod of approval by the incumbent Korean government. The only downside to having personal guides is, well: you can’t go anywhere without them. They stick to you like glue and monitor your every move. Michal Huniewicz, a polish photographer, later lamented after his visit to the country that it hadn’t quite been the best vacation he had had. He stated that his party’s guides would tell them when to wake up and when to go to bed. Sounds a bit controlling, right?
The Army Makes Their Presence Felt Everywhere
Apart from being one of the most powerful armies in the world, North Korea’s army, also known as The Korean People’s Army, also happens to have one of the largest enrollments in the world standing at 1 in every 25 citizens. It has more than 1.2 million army personnel on duty. The Korean People’s Army is divided into several branches, the biggest of which is the Ground Force unit totaling nearly one million enlistees. Of worthy mention is the country’s navy base which holds the record for housing the most number of submarines in the world.
A Haven For Smoking Marijuana
Based on reports from visitors to the country, it is completely legal to both purchase and smoke marijuana in North Korea. At least, to the naked eye, it seems to be. It is claimed that no law-enforcers will prosecute you if you are found in possession of weed. The difficult thing is that it’s not clear whether consuming cannabis is legal in North Korea, or whether the laws surrounding its criminalization are not enforced. What is also unclear is whether foreigners in North Korea can consume it without being reprimanded or whether the laws allocate exclusively for North Koreans. On another note, based on reports from a non-governmental organization from the US, egregious consequences were to be faced by citizens of North Korean discovered to be taking methamphetamines.
Public Service Is No Walk In The Park
One of the general truths known about North Korea is that public service is not a bed of roses. The way that some North Koreans employed in public service positions are treated would make any Westerner cringe if they found out.
Division Of North Korean People
Based on reports from refugees from North Korea, the government divides citizens into three clearly marked groups based entirely on one’s level of devotion to the government. Allegedly, some of the requirements used to determine a person’s loyalty include his or her own comportment, political affiliation, financial status, as well as ancestral history.
The Mandatory Kim Jong-Un Haircut
Based on reports from an unidentified source from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital city, it is mandatory for men to have their hair cut such that the length doesn’t exceed more than two centimeters. But here’s the real catch: apparently, men were also ordered to have their hair styled in a similar fashion to the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un himself, a leader who’s haircut is deemed by some to be “ambitious.” As to how this description came about, we don’t know. As for the women, it comes as no surprise that they are advised to have their hair styled after the incumbent First Lady of North Korea, Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju. To be more specific, their hair must be cut at bob length. Should a woman not wish to have her hair look like the First Lady’s, there are reportedly 14 other styles from which Korean women are allowed to choose. Conversely, a single Korean woman is permitted to have longer hair than a married woman is allowed.
The Penalty To Leave North Korea Is Steep
There’s a reason why so many North Koreans remain in a nation with such controversial policies: it costs $8000 to leave. That is assuming that you wish to leave the country on reasonably good terms. If you try more radical means such as unlawfully attempting to escape, you better pray that you don’t get caught: The North Korean administration isn’t known to be too kind to illegal defectors. Reports of years of inhumane punishment and even death are rampant. Still, $8000 is nearly impossible to come by for the average North Korean, and even if one is able to pay their way out of the nation, the furthest you can get to is nearby China, which is widely documented to treat North Korean defectors coldly. Thankfully, there are those brave North Koreans who have successfully managed to escape their country. Thanks to their efforts, the rest of the world gets some insight into the daily lives of citizens there.
North Koreans Can’t Interact With Foreigners
It’s well established that tourists from the Western hemisphere are not permitted to roam freely in North Korea. They are constantly followed by guides who deliberately keep them away from sections which they as tourists are not allowed to go to. There are areas for locals exclusively and areas for tourists exclusively. Should a tourist be found in an area for only locals, he or she is quickly removed by North Korean police officials. That said, in the capital of Pyongyang, many department stores and supermarkets are made available to North Koreans. All goods found on the shelves are brought in by the government. The black market also exists in North Korea, although it must be said that the government makes a concerted effort to closely supervise the transactions which occur there.
North Korean Military Vehicles
North Korea has some pretty scary looking machines to transport their soldiers to and from the battlefield. With private and general army vehicles as well as army tanks, North Korea has close to 5000 vehicles made for combat. Of course, although this information has been reported, it’s not the cold and hard facts as none of it can truly be confirmed. That said, their military trucks are a far cry from what is typically seen in the United States of America. Based on reports, they seem to be in poor condition, which comes as a surprise given the estimated figures of investment done by the North Korean government in their army.
Cleanliness Is Essential
Anyone who visits North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang would recognize in a heartbeat that the city’s streets are kept impeccably clean. One thing that the government invests in is ensuring that their capital city remains one of the most beautiful in the world, for which they definitely get an A+ for cleanliness. That said, Pyongyang does not represent the entire nation. There are some incredibly dirty areas in North Korea, just like in every other country in the world. These tend to be found in extremely poor areas where residents experience challenges with basic necessities such as potable water.
North Koreans And The Love Of Music
Historically, since the political division between North and South Korea, under the rule of Kim Il-Sung, North Koreans were only allowed to listen to a select few genres of music. Of those genres which were banned, of particularly worthy mention is the former leader’s strong feelings about the need to prohibit jazz music. As the previous administration saw it, all music had to be in keeping with the ideology of the government. Anything that even remotely suggested a way of life that was not in line with the ideas promoted by the then administration was not sanctioned. After Kim Jong-Il succeeded the former supreme leader, under his leadership, more tolerance was granted towards genres of music which were previously severely censored. In the above photo, you will see children beating local drums. Clearly, the thrill of music lives among the future generation of North Koreans.
Even The North Koreans Can’t Travel As They Please
Just like foreigners who come to visit North Korea, even the citizens of the nation have restrictions on their ability to travel throughout the country. The government mandates that every citizen who wishes to leave his or her hometown or city has to get a permit authorizing such. The reason for this is that the government wants to keep a close eye on every Korean’s movement. Conversely, even if you are granted a permit, don’t think about traveling a long distance with your own vehicle. If you’re due for a long journey, the government will only allow you to take either the train or the bus. Perhaps they’re afraid that if you have your own vehicle you might try to stage an escape. Who knows?
The Rule Of Three
Pictured above, Otto Warmbier was a student from the United States of America who was detained by North Korean authorities for an extended period of time, eventually falling into a coma, succumbing 15 months later. Upon his return to the US, autopsy reports indicated that there were no signs of physical trauma. Perhaps Warmbier might not have been beaten, but North Korean prisoners surely endure inhumane physical punishment. What’s worse is that they’re not the only ones left to suffer. Under the incumbent supreme leader’s administration, they enforce a concept known as “the rule of three.” Essentially, if someone commits a crime against the government, that person, his or her grandparents, parents, and children all suffer the same fate. No one is spared from the wrath of Kim Jong-Un.
For The Love Of Pyongyang
As stated previously, the largest city and capital of South Korea is Pyongyang. This capital didn’t always stand as tall and beautiful as it does today. During the Korean War in the 1950s, the city was essentially decimated. Thanks to the efforts of Kim Il-Sung’s administration, the city was restored and eventually grew into what it is today – one of the cleanest cities in the known world. It also is a place for which many North Koreans have a lot of pride. Foreigners have reported being brought to the city on numerous occasions by their respective tour guides.
The Resilience Of A Public Servant
This will probably come as no surprise, but North Korean workers are reputed for being extremely hard-working. In light of likely but unconfirmed rife poverty, many North Koreans learn to fend for themselves from an early age and understand the value of a job. School children also get a taste of what hard work is like given that they are forced to do hard labor from a tender age.
Government Buildings In North Korea
In the nation’s capital, apart from the clean streets and lush trees, some other things which you can find are the various government buildings which are scattered all over the city. Pictured above is only one of these buildings. The building features a photo of Kim Il-Sung, the first supreme leader of North Korea.
About The Supreme Leaders Of North Korea
Kim Il-Sung held the position for 46 years, specifically, from 1948 until he passed away in 1994. After his death in 1994, he was succeeded by his son, Kim-Jong-il, who ruled as the supreme leader until his own death in 2011. His son, Kim-Jong-un, is the incumbent supreme leader of North Korea, having held the position from 2011 until today. As is customary, photos of the previous and incumbent leaders may be found plastered all over government buildings as well as some important buildings in the city as an act of respect and reverence for the supreme leaders of the nation.
Public Transportation In North Korea
As you can probably guess, public transportation is all the rave in North Korea. As mentioned previously, the government forces persons who are traveling long distances out of town to use either a public bus or a train to get there, probably done to minimize the chances of that person escaping.
Use By North Koreans
That said, public transportation is obviously not only used by persons traveling long distances: generally, most North Koreans use public transportation to get around the city. Actually, private vehicles are not very commonplace in North Korea. This is probably so because the average Korean wouldn’t be able to afford a private vehicle. Once again, if someone wishes to travel outside his or her hometown, that person must get a permit to do so. If not, they will suffer the consequences set by the incumbent administration.
Not Much Going On With Korean Architecture
North Korea, unsurprisingly, is not known for lavish architecture and complex construction. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, quite frankly, you will probably be underwhelmed by the basic construction of many buildings throughout the nation. That said, in all things there are exceptions. While the vast majority of buildings are architecturally basic, it must be said that there are some truly aesthetically pleasing constructs found there. Take for instance the above-mentioned photo. This is known as “The Arch of Reunification.” It’s a shot of a statue of two women lifting up a map of North Korea.
The Party Foundation Monument
This second photo is another cultural landmark known as “The Party Foundation Monument.” It is a symbol of hard labor and those who do it, each structure representing a hammer, sickle, and writing brush respectively. While they may be primitive in design, you cannot deny that they are beautiful constructs despite their simplicity.
Photographing The Streets Of North Korea
North Korean streets aren’t that different from many streets throughout the world. If you ever drive through the cities, you will find the usual hustle and bustle of people crossing busy roads and walking down the streets in droves. It`s quite normal to see people walking in the streets. This is because there is hardly any traffic since a small percentage of the population have private vehicles.
Police Presence In The Streets
That said, the North Korean administration ensures that the presence of their police force and the military is felt in the streets of the country. It would be strange to walk down a street without seeing a couple of officers in uniform patrolling. All in all, a fairly normal-looking city.
Sitting By The Train Tracks
Pictured above, you will see one of the railway tracks for a North Korean station, specifically, the Sonchon railway station. Historically, in the month of November of 1905, The Chosen Government Railway opened this railway for use. In the photo, you can see two men (presumably) sitting and enjoying a chat on the sidewalk next to the railway tracks. Once again, you can see that the roads are in deplorable condition. Potholes and other defects stain the concrete, giving it a rather unfinished look. Of notice as well is the litter in the railway tracks. You can see what appears to be a couple of plastic bottles and some miscellaneous debris lining the innards of the tracks. Quite a different look compared to the clean streets of Pyongyang, don’t you think?
Schoolkids Off To Work – Literally
It’s already been mentioned that in North Korea, a schoolchild’s schedule is made up of his or her academic subjects to be studied, as well as mandatory hard labor. Yet, from a Western perspective, seeing a photo like this one above looks so bizarre, at least from a cultural perspective. Here, we see these schoolkids in North Korea carrying various cleaning materials, most sporting brooms, the boy on the far left holding what seems to be a cutting device. The most obvious guess is that these kids are on their way to complete the mandatory hard labor which they were assigned. Still, it looks odd to see them in their uniforms away from their respective classes where they ought to be. Sometimes, you have to see it to believe it.
You’re Being Watched. Constantly.
Ever got that feeling that you’re constantly being watched, like your every step is being monitored by someone? That feeling is pretty much the same feeling experienced by virtually every North Korean in the country. Due to strict border control and emigration policies, it is extremely difficult for any North Korean to leave the country, let alone go unnoticed. This photo shows a watchtower situated at the border between North and South Korea. Although not displayed in the photo, the area is teaming with guards to ensure that no one manages to escape the country. Though a select few have managed to escape, for those who have been caught, the atrocities committed against them in concentration camps and prisons cannot be qualified. North Koreans are essentially prisoners in their own land.
Spot The Farmland In North Korea
Common features of North Korea that any foreigner is bound to notice are the vast expanses of farmland found in the nation. Typically found in the countryside, these farmlands stretch on for miles on end. Agriculture in North Korea tends to focus on the cultivation of potatoes and rice. As a result, a significant number of hard labor has to be done in the fields to assist in the production of those goods. In 2012, it was reported that nearly 24% of North Korean’s labor force was assigned to assist in the production of agricultural goods. With scarce farming machinery, the bulk of the work has to be done manually, hence the need for human labor. Interestingly enough, North Korea has to produce its own fertilizer after South Korea stopped supplying them.
Remembering The Korean Revolution
Pictured above is the Grand Monument on Mansu Hill located in the nation’s capital Pyongyang. Comprising a series of complex monuments, in the center are two statues depicting the two deceased supreme leaders of North Korea, namely Kim Il-sung and Kim-Jong-il. Framing these two statues on both sides are a total 227 statues. The purpose of the monument is to act as memorabilia for the Korean revolution, celebrating the lives of those who were central to it, especially the former leaders. As you can see in the photo, someone is bowing before the two central statues in an act of reverence. The monument stands in front of the Korean Revolution Museum.
North Korean Train In Beijing
Despite the relatively tranquil-looking scenario presented in the photo above, it sparked quite a bit of controversy. In 2018, an unfamiliar green train arrived at the Beijing Railway Station. Reports began to surface claiming that the train housed an unexpected visitor: Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Some claimed that the train bore many similarities to the train used by Kim’s family, hence the reason rumors began to circulate claiming that the leader came to pay a visit. If it was indeed Kim Jong-Un, it would have marked his first visit to Beijing in seven years, his last time being in 2011. Just like in North Korea, Beijing has a pretty heavy police presence. Here, you can see two officers standing on duty at the train station.
These Are What Taxis Look Like In North Korea
Painted bright green and yellow, taxis in North Korea are some of the most colorful in the world. Sadly, no foreigners visiting North Korea are allowed to ride in them. These taxis are exclusively for locals, no tourists. Conversely, taxis are very expensive in North Korea, therefore, only a select few are able to afford them. Most people use public transportation to make their way around town. Another typical feature of this photo is the lack of traffic. Not many people have vehicles in North Korea, so traffic is virtually non-existent. Anyone who dreads traffic would love living in North Korea, although in light of all the other factors one has to take into account if one decides to move there, perhaps it might be better to learn to deal with traffic.
Trains Ready To Move
This photo shows a couple of trains presumably docked on their respective railways. As expected, they look old and rundown. Two persons are seen walking in the distance towards one of the trains, perhaps looking to board it. Interestingly, did you know that passengers on a train in North Korea are not allowed to take photos of anything outside the train? Yes, you read right: when you’re on a train, don’t even bother to take out your camera cause it might be confiscated. The government goes at length to ensure that nothing about how people live in North Korea gets out to the wider public.
The Yalu River Bordering China
Pictured is a photo of the Yalu River, a river which borders China and North Korea. Along with the Tumen River, The Yalu River forms a large chunk of the border between these two East-Asian countries. Historically and culturally, the Yalu River served as a place for several violent exchanges, such as the Korean War as well as the First Sino-Japanese War. Today, many North Koreans attempting to flee the country to China traverse the Yalu River, some successfully, others with not so much success. Naturally, North Korea has put in place stricter patrol along this river to ensure that no one escapes.
To Walk Is To Be North Korean
To see hoards of people walking all throughout North Korea is not a surprise. Cars are considered a luxurious item much more so in North Korea than in most parts of the world. Those who do not want to walk can make their way around using a bicycle or even carriages. Here we see two women walking a young boy through the streets of North Korea. Based on their outfits, it appears to be a very cold day, perhaps a day when they wish that they could have had their own vehicle to protect themselves from the cold weather. Sadly, many people can’t afford vehicles.
Traffic Police In North Korea
Military officials aren’t the only law-enforcers you will see in North Korea. In order to moderate road rules, North Korea has put in place traffic control officers. A bit surprising if you ask anyone given that there are barely any vehicles in North Korea, but some law-enforcement is required nonetheless.
Gender Doesn’t Matter
This job is not gender-discriminatory. Both the male and female traffic officer can be seen adorned in a blue uniform. For women, there are rules and restrictions as to their eligibility for the post. A woman must be unmarried and less than 26 years of age in order to work as a traffic officer.
The North Korean Calendar
Does this calendar look strange to you? Well, this is the North Korean calendar, which is also known as the Juche Calendar. It happens to be the preferred system used to mark dates in North Korea. This calendar is a fusion of elements from traditional Korean time recording, as well as the Gregorian calendar. The Juche Calendar was adopted in July of 1997 and commences with the birth date of Kim Il-sung. Given that the birth date of the first supreme leader is 1912, using the Juche Calendar, that year is marked as Juche 1. All years referenced prior to that date are recorded using the Christian calendar numbering system. However, all years after 1912 are recorded using the Juche system. Therefore, 1913 is marked as “Juche 2″, 1914 as ” Juche 3″, and so on.
The Bus Ride
As already stated, buses are an extremely common form of transportation in North Korea. To travel, people use either the train or the bus. Here is a photo of a bus stopping at a bus stop to either let down or pick up passengers. As usual, there’s no other vehicle in sight. It’s important to emphasize how clean the streets can be in North Korea. This photo was probably taken in the capital city of Pyongyang, known for its extreme cleanliness. Some countries clearly need to take a page from North Korea’s book and invest in keeping the cities spick and span as North Korea tries to do.
Kijong-Dong – A Village And Its Story
Located in The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), this little village in North Korea is also called the Peace Village, or as some outsiders would call it, the Propaganda Village. This village along with Daeseong-dong are the only two villages which were allowed to stay in the DMZ after the Korean Armistice Agreement. Outsiders allege that in the village, loudspeakers are placed on buildings playing anti-Western speeches while simultaneously praising the North Korean government. They also beckoned persons from the South to cross the border and be accepted into North Koreans with open arms. Few have taken up the offer. The loudspeakers have caused tension to grow between the two nations which were once one. This Peace Village seems to bring anything but peace.
Television Channels In North Korea
Television channels are a popular form of communication in North Korea. In the above photo, we can see a television journalist relaying the news to the public. The North Korean government often times uses these television stations to purport propaganda and continue to brainwash the North Korean people about life outside of North Korea. Several North Koreans who have defected the country have spoken at length about the government’s attempts to force the citizens to believe that life outside of North Korea is worse than life in North Korea. They all express shock and disbelief at seeing the outside world claiming that what they see, feel, and know now is vastly different from what they were taught in North Korea.
North Korean Customs Is No Joke
In light of all the censorship that goes on in North Korea, it comes as no surprise that foreigners looking to enter the country need to answer a few security questions which will determine whether they are allowed entry or not. Displayed in the above photo are a few of these questions. The strangest of all these questions is probably the fourth one. In today’s world, cell phones are a dime a dozen: everyone has access to one, therefore it should already be considered a norm that any traveler has one. However, given that this is North Korea we’re talking about, nothing should come as a surprise.
Uniting Two Countries In The Name Of Friendship
The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge is a bridge which connects Dandong, a Chinese city, to Sinuiji in North Korea. The bridge goes across the infamous Yalu River, which also happens to be the same river used by many Korean defectors to flee Korean territory. Japanese built the bridge over a six-year period during the Japanese’s occupation of Korea in the early 1900s. At night, lights along the bridge are turned on and make the bridge look so beautiful. Such a beautiful name for a beautiful bridge. Unfortunately, the brilliantly colored bridge is probably the last bit of bright light anyone will see upon crossing into Korean territory.
North Korea And It’s Time Zone
In August 2015, North Koreans collectively ushered in their own time zone: “Pyongyang Time.” Essentially, this time zone pushed back the previous time zone in North Korea by half an hour, therefore also putting the nation half an hour behind South Korea. The reason for the change in the time zone was in recognition of Korea’s 70th anniversary of freedom from Japan. However, the shift in time-zone didn’t last forever. By 2018, the clocks were pushed forward by half an hour, restoring North Korea to relative normalcy. It may seem illogical, but some people believe it to have been a rather tactful political move.
North Korea’s Human Rights Policies Might Not Be So Bad
Despite being heralded as a country which exponentially violates and infringes upon the basic human rights of North Koreans, in terms of gender equality, North Korea is pretty fair. Legally, North Korea is fairly unbiased toward gender and protects women under specific labor and inheritance clauses. A woman is able to marry whomever she chooses and is also free to divorce should she desire. Thanks to progressive gender equality, several North Korean women have risen to the upper class, although the majority have attained such status because of familial linkages to wealthy North Korean men.
North Koreans Are Short
Anyone coming to visit North Korea will take note of the obvious: North Koreans are very short people. Apparently, they’re even shorter than South Koreans, the citizens of their sister nation. Some have attributed the difference in height between the two groups of people as being a direct result of the Korean War. Due to poor nutrition, inability to access food, and food scarcity after the war, malnourishment spread over North Korea. Therefore, anyone born after the war will typically be 2 inches shorter than a South Korean. Undoubtedly, poverty is a disease which has been steadily grabbing a hold of North Korea. Hopefully, the country can make a turnaround to improve the lives of its citizens.