North Korea bans women from wearing shorts

North Korea bans women from wearing shorts after deeming them ‘capitalist fashion’ (but men can still wear them)

  • It comes amid temperatures in excess of 30 degrees C in the repressive country

North Korea has banned women from wearing shorts in the latest crackdown on any behaviour or practices deemed to be foreign or capitalist.

Under the latest enforcement of the hermit kingdom’s Rejection of Reactionary Thought and Culture Act, officials declared that any woman who wears clothing that does not reach below the knee line flouts the principles of ‘socialist etiquette’.

It comes amid temperatures in excess of 30 degrees C in a country where the summers are long and humid and most citizens are already subject to horrendous living standards under dynastic leader Kim Jong Un. 

A resident of North Korea’s South Pyongan province told Radio Free Asia on condition of anonymity: ‘The authorities are stopping women who wear shorts on the streets, saying that it is not in line with socialist tradition and lifestyle.

‘A few years ago, they were cracking down on wide-legged skirt pants, saying they were Japanese fashion,’ she said. 

‘Many women are complaining, asking why men can wear shorts and women can’t. They are saying that the authorities are discriminating against us.’

In this file photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks in Pyongyang, North Korea

This picture taken during the period from August 3 to August 5, 2023 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 6, 2023 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a new series of firearm

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

For regular North Korean citizens not among the privileged few near to Kim and his party elites, life is bleak. 

Much of the country’s population regularly contends with famine, has little access to basic healthcare and is constantly under threat of punishment for the slightest transgression.

A Human Rights Watch report on social freedoms in the country reads: ‘The government systematically denies all basic liberties, including freedom of expression, public assembly, association, and religion. 

Kim Jong Un fires top general and tells his armed forces to prepare for war while displaying a map of South Korea to his military chiefs 

‘Fear of collective punishment is used to silence dissent. Authorities in North Korea routinely send perceived opponents of the government to secretive political prison camps in remote regions where they face torture by guards, starvation rations, and forced labour.

It concludes: ‘The government fails to protect the rights of numerous at-risk groups, including women, children, and people with disabilities.’

Women caught flouting the newly enforced no shorts regulations are therefore liable to be slapped with all manner of disproportionate punishments.  

While its southern neighbour has become one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations and booming economies, North Korea has become a pariah state.

Kim Jong Un, the third member of the Kim bloodline to take power in North Korea, has dumped almost all his nation’s wealth and resources into the pursuit of an obsessive mission – to cultivate the globe’s most powerful ‘strategic arsenal’ of missiles and nuclear devices.

All the while, he has ramped up anti-Western and anti-capitalist rhetoric, with North Korean citizens raised to see South Korea and much of the rest of the world as a threat to their very existence that must be resisted at all costs.

Last week, Kim sacked his military’s top general and called for more preparations for the possibility of war, a boost in weapons production, and expansion of military drills.

Kim made the comments at a meeting of the Central Military Commission which discussed plans for countermeasures to deter North Korea’s enemies, which it did not name, the report from state news agency KCNA said.

The country’s top general, Chief of the General Staff Pak Su Il was ‘dismissed,’ KCNA reported, without elaborating. He had served in his role for about seven months.

This picture taken on July 27, 2023 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 28, 2023 shows a military parade to mark a key anniversary of the Korean War at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang

This picture taken on July 27, 2023 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 28, 2023 shows North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (R) attending a military parade

Pak was replaced by General Ri Yong Gil, who previously served as the country’s defence minister, as well as the top commander of its conventional troops.

Ri also previously served as the army chief of staff. When he was replaced in 2016 his sacking and subsequent absence from official events sparked reports in South Korea that he had been executed. He reappeared a few months later, when he was named to another senior post.

Kim also set a target for the expansion of weapons production capacity, the report said, without providing details. Last week he visited weapons factories where he called for more missile engines, artillery and other weapons to be built.

Photos released by KCNA showed Kim pointing at Seoul and areas surrounding the South Korean capital on a map.

The United States has accused North Korea of providing arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine, including artillery shells, rockets and missiles. Russia and North Korea have denied those claims.

Kim also called for the military to conduct drills with the country’s latest weapons and equipment to keep its forces ready for combat, the report said.

North Korea is set to stage a militia parade on Sept. 9, marking the 75th anniversary of the Day of the Foundation of the Republic. North Korea has a number of paramilitary groups it uses to bolster its military forces.

The U.S. and South Korea are scheduled to hold military drills between Aug. 21 and 24, which the North sees as a threat to its security.

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