North Koreans using mobile phones to be punished as ‘war criminals'

When Kim Jong-il died on December 17 last year, many hoped that it might mark the beginning of a less bleak future for North Korea. In a country with no political plurality, where the average monthly income is around $15 USD, where all popular culture and media are geared towards the glorification of the country’s leadership, and where contact with the outside world is more or less unheard of for the citizenry, hope for a better way of life is certainly understandable.


North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-un, seems keen to preserve the legacy of his father, Kim Jong-il (above)

But the installation of the former leader’s son, Kim Jong-un, as the new overlord of the risibly-named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will apparently yield no such relief for the country’s beleaguered populace. Now, as the official 100-day mourning period for Kim Jong-il’s passing continues to crawl by, The Telegraph reports that a new threat has been issued to the people of North Korea - any citizen who dares to use a mobile phone during the mourning period will be punished as a ‘war criminal’.

The edict comes as thousands of North Koreans are defying the will of the ruling Workers’ Party, leaving behind the oppressive state and fleeing across the border to South Korea in the hope of building a better life there. Such defiance is a very real concern to North Korea’s leadership, who have witnessed popular uprisings in Middle East nations that have succeeded in crushing similarly oppressive regimes.

The ban on cell phone use is a desperate attempt to prevent North Koreans from getting any wild ideas about regime change. In May of last year, the government confiscated thousands of phones after witnessing the Arab Spring; authorities also routinely monitor any international calls to ensure that information shared outside of the country does not contradict the official government version of events.

In late 2008, CNET reported on claims that the government had restricted mobile phone usage and intimidated citizens, threatening them with public executions, in order to prevent them from making international calls that might reveal to the world the extent of a severe food shortage in the country.

Sadly, for the people of North Korea, the outlook remains just as bleak today as it did under the last guy.


Image: © 2004 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

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37 Comments

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May I put my view forward I to think it should be a real pic of kim jong il the real late North Korean of that name was no laughing matter.

Google maps/earth recently showed that N Korea has death camps set up for anyone who disagrees with the government. sounds like a nice place to live. I say insult them until you are blue in the face.

The North Korean population are so conditioned and shielded from the real world, I do think that there is such a little chance of an uprising without intervention from another country. And I can't see that happening either!

Chicane-UK said,
The North Korean population are so conditioned and shielded from the real world, I do think that there is such a little chance of an uprising without intervention from another country. And I can't see that happening either!

Many living there do know what's happening, but it's hard to rally support for a cause given their interventions. The only thing that will stop this madness in the end, is uprising backed by North Korea's military.

North Korea is a Nuclear power, there is no way the USA or any other country would be able to help them, with the leaders so crazy for power they would just launch nukes. The USA government and and any other country would probably love to help but not at the price we would have to pay. The people there will just have to somehow over throw there government them selves.

I can't imagine people letting others conrol their lives like that at all. I mean enough is enough already.

I don't know which country has the most whacked out rulers. North Lorea or Iran?!

cork1958 said,
I can't imagine people letting others conrol their lives like that at all. I mean enough is enough already.

I don't know which country has the most whacked out rulers. North Lorea or Iran?!

eastern asian countries where drugs are completely forbidden and if they catch you with weed, you might get executed

the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

SPEhosting said,
the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

Probably not a high enough political priority to the U.S. Govt?

SPEhosting said,
the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

Because they can through a few million people at us and even China got involved then forget about it....

sullysnet said,

Because they can through a few million people at us and even China got involved then forget about it....
through=throw?

SPEhosting said,
the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

Needs more oil!

SPEhosting said,
we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

They need more oil!

SPEhosting said,
the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

you are a cretin to think that "invading" something helps

1. the american army is a joke - they can barely protect their own borders, it was others' whim that usa hasnt been invaded at this point, if you still think that usa is the number one military force in the world, you are mistaken
2. if usa invades nk, china will whoop usa's ass in a way unseen on both tv and history
3. if thats how americans are raised today (i have you in mind), this means things are really sad over there, so if i get to live in there i will easily exploit illiterate people like you


either throw away your tv and stop reading news and other propaganda .. or keep on living with your pathetic delusions, not my problem, just and advice from a foreigner who happens not to be brainwashed by his country's media

SPEhosting said,
the puppet is much easier on the eyes IMO .... and omg why have we not invaded NK yet? we invade other countries for "their well being" why not NK the people seem to need our help...

No oil...

Saex_Conroy said,

you are a cretin to think that "invading" something helps

1. the american army is a joke - they can barely protect their own borders, it was others' whim that usa hasnt been invaded at this point, if you still think that usa is the number one military force in the world, you are mistaken
2. if usa invades nk, china will whoop usa's ass in a way unseen on both tv and history
3. if thats how americans are raised today (i have you in mind), this means things are really sad over there, so if i get to live in there i will easily exploit illiterate people like you


either throw away your tv and stop reading news and other propaganda .. or keep on living with your pathetic delusions, not my problem, just and advice from a foreigner who happens not to be brainwashed by his country's media

the american army doesn't do boarder patrol, so to say can barely protect their own boarders is wrong... that's up to boarder patrol which is not army, any time someone wants to deploy troops to the boarder its quickly shot down as its "not their job"

Saex_Conroy said,

you are a cretin to think that "invading" something helps

1. the american army is a joke - they can barely protect their own borders, it was others' whim that usa hasnt been invaded at this point, if you still think that usa is the number one military force in the world, you are mistaken
2. if usa invades nk, china will whoop usa's ass in a way unseen on both tv and history
3. if thats how americans are raised today (i have you in mind), this means things are really sad over there, so if i get to live in there i will easily exploit illiterate people like you


either throw away your tv and stop reading news and other propaganda .. or keep on living with your pathetic delusions, not my problem, just and advice from a foreigner who happens not to be brainwashed by his country's media

I love how someone that writes a messy, malformed post like that has the gall to call anyone else illiterate.

That's it North Korea! The one thing that will prevent your people from starting an uprising is to instill more fear and oppress them even more!

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

"seems keen to preserve the legacy of his father, Kim Jong-il (above)"
Made me lol

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

Sure it is. It's Hilarius!

warwagon said,

Sure it is. It's Hilarius!

Personally, I find the way(s) western journalists and commentators habitually demonize &/or comically patronize social/political leaders that they "disagree" with both highly alarming (from a sociological standpoint) and insulting. :\

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

why is everyone so *** stupid? why cant everybody be like me...

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

It's hilarious! It's great that he is viewed as a joke because... well he was a joke!

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

That man is a disgusting human being and deserves to be ridiculed at every given chance

kizuran said,

Personally, I find the way(s) western journalists and commentators habitually demonize &/or comically patronize social/political leaders that they "disagree" with both highly alarming (from a sociological standpoint) and insulting. :\

I don't completely disagree with you, but you have to admit that North Korea is a bit of a **** place to live. There's very little positive outlook for the people there and a clear sense of brainwashing over the entire country. It's hard to paint the leadership in any kind of positive light while their people are starving.

kizuran said,

Personally, I find the way(s) western journalists and commentators habitually demonize &/or comically patronize social/political leaders that they "disagree" with both highly alarming (from a sociological standpoint) and insulting. :\

I don't completely disagree with you, but you have to admit that North Korea is a bit of a **** place to live. There's very little positive outlook for the people there and a clear sense of brainwashing over the entire country. It's hard to paint the leadership in any kind of positive light while their people are starving.

Kushan said,

I don't completely disagree with you, but you have to admit that North Korea is a bit of a **** place to live. There's very little positive outlook for the people there and a clear sense of brainwashing over the entire country. It's hard to paint the leadership in any kind of positive light while their people are starving.

I agree.

Smashing Pumpkin said,
I'm not sure if it's okay to mix serious news reporting with team america puppets.

That's the beauty of living in a free country, if people don't like something it doesnt really matter. Everybody has the right to do their own shiz and so will one day the north korean people. It's funny that such a stupid leader would choose to oppress people even further in order to prevent an uprising, that is so the opposite of how things work, that'll push their people over the edge. I hope people fight for the rights of the future generations.

kizuran said,

Personally, I find the way(s) western journalists and commentators habitually demonize &/or comically patronize social/political leaders that they "disagree" with both highly alarming (from a sociological standpoint) and insulting. :\


That's hardly confined to the Western media, and when it's about the leader of North Korea it is far from "insulting".