Even indirect criticism of the authoritarian government has been banned, Asian media reported.
Residents were warned against criticising the state in a series of mass meetings held by functionaries across the country.
“One state security official personally organised a meeting to alert local residents to potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” a source in Jagang Province told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.
“The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut.’”
The caution was also issued in neighbouring Yangang Province, sources revealed.
Officials told people that sarcastic expressions such as “This is all America’s fault” would constitute unacceptable criticism of the regime.
“This habit of the central authorities of blaming the wrong country when a problem’s cause obviously lies elsewhere has led citizens to mock the party,” an anonymous source said.
North Korea's worst human rights abuses
North Korea's worst human rights abuses
A UN report said that policies leading to mass starvation in North Korea amounted to crimes against humanity. Deaths peaked during the 1990s North Korean famine.
Defence minister Hyon Yong Chol is believed to be the latest official executed after falling foul of Kim Jong-un. As well as gruesome public executions, thousands of people have been killed in state 'purges' and for alleged anti-state crimes
Torture is prevalent in prison camps, as well as in police and security service custody.
4/11 Freedom of religion
American missionary Kenneth Bae was one of the many people detained after trying to practice their religion. The DPRK Constitution claims to protect freedom of religion but not if it as alleged of being used a a pretext for 'drawing in foreign forces or for harming the state and social order'. Christianity is frequently considered a political crime
5/11 Freedom of expression
All media is tightly-state controlled and expressing facts of opinions critical of the government or Juche ideology can lead to arrest and imprisonment. As well as being under extensive surveillance, people are encouraged to 'inform' on friends and neighbours
6/11 Freedom of thought
A UN report found that the 'DPRK operates an all-encompassing indoctrination machine which takes root from childhood to propagate an official personality cult and to manufacture absolute obedience to the Supreme Leader, effectively to the exclusion of any independent thought from the official ideology and state propaganda'
7/11 Forced labour
Prisoners are subjected to forced labour in camps, including children as young as five. Some workers are also reportedly being sent abroad to fund the government's projects
8/11 Sexual discrimination
Although women are permitted to serve in the military, their role is restrained by the Juche ideology and the UN reports that 'discrimination against women remains pervasive in all aspects of society'
9/11 Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is severely restricted within North Korea and very few citizens are allowed to leave the country. Immigrants found in China can be forcible repatriated and punished on their return. The right for foreigners to enter is also severely restricted.
10/11 Prison camps
Many of the worst abuses reported take place at prison camps, some specifically for political crimes. The camps officially do not exist but have been photographed using satellite. Inmates are 'forcibly disappeared' and usually imprisoned until death
11/11 Reproductive rights
Forced abortions have been reported for imprisoned women, often after being raped by guards. Mothers and babies frequently die in childbirth because of a lack of adequate care, often delivering babies unaided at home.
Another mocking expression, “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” was also said to be circulating in the totalitarian state, referring to the country’s notoriously isolationist leader.
The phrase was apparently conceived when officials voiced shock that Mr Kim did not attend celebrations held in Russia and China to mark the end of the Second World War.
Regional media have reported an increase in public acts of dissent in the country of late. Graffiti mocking the government and its leader have appeared twice in recent weeks.
North Korea has taken part in multiple weapon’s tests recently, in displays of force intended to demonstrate the country’s developing nuclear capabilities.Reuse content