Through my research on North Korea and questions that I’ve come across, I decided to compile a list of facts about DPRK.
- Living in a high-rise apartment is not a sign of affluence in North Korea. With North Korea suffering from frequent electricity shortages, North Koreans living on the upper-most floors would often be required to climb the stairs as elevators would be out of service.
- Although there are DPRK passports, most North Koreans are not issued these passports since the majority of them do not get the opportunities to leave the country. Those who do get these passports are granted special permission to visit other countries for official reasons such as business trips and sports competitions. All holders must apply for an exit visa in order to leave the country and after travel, these passports are then withdrawn by the Foreign Ministry.
- Juche, the official political ideology created by Kim Il-sung, is seen as a variant of Marxism-Leninism that has become distinctly ‘Korean’ in nature. Juche promotes the idea of self-reliance, and is seen as a mechanism in which the Kim family sustains its dictorial rule.
- North Koreans are only allowed to choose between 28 state-approved haircuts
North Korea bases its calendar on Kim Il-Sung’s date of birth: 15 April 1912. So technically in North Korea, it isn’t the year 2016 right now but year 104.
Even though North Korea holds ‘elections’ once every 5 years, ballots only have one option on them – No surprise why the Kim family is able to continuously maintain its hold on power.
- Pyongyang is the city only for the elites. Currently, about 3 million North Korean elites reside in Pyongyang.
- About half of its population (12million) lives in extreme poverty.
- North Korea is the one of the two countries which you can’t buy coke. (The other is Cuba)
- North Korea is about the size of Pennsylvania (120,000 square kilometers)
Based on the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), North Korea is the most corrupt country in the world — tied with Afghanistan and Somalia.
It is reported that there are about 34,000 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea.