North Korean young people are being stopped and checked by authorities who have launched a crackdown on Western popular culture including fashion, music and videos
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
North Korea is cracking down on tight pants and trendy haircuts in what the state sees as the dangerous influence of foreign pop culture.
The heavily isolated country has stepped up its testing of ballistic missiles this year with Kim Jong-un having said it is necessary to have a nuclear deterrent due to foreign threats.
And the perceived danger from abroad appears to also include pop culture with the leader unhappy about capitalist clothing instead of traditional dress.
Although Kim himself has been seen sporting leather jackets, the state is pushing for the public to conform and sees individualism as “capitalistic”.
A campaign has now been launched with the Socialist Patriotic Youth League stating that North Korean hair and clothing style is a vital element of socialist life.
And authorities have filmed women stopped in the street for failing to meet the country’s fashion police, reported news outlet Daily NK, based in Soeul.
One video is believed to show several women in their 20s and 30s detained for wearing tight leggings and dying their hair.
In commentary with the footage, it states the women as wearing “indecent clothes” and being “capitalist delinquents”.
Any North Korean who violates the fashion rules face being detained and even beaten or jailed, it is claimed.
They can be made to write letters apologising for what they have done and pledging never to repeat the fashion mistakes.
Western brands are banned as are tight trousers, dyed hair or facial piercings.
Lectures warning people to follow North Korean fashion started last month in North Hamgyong province.
“The crackdowns are being carried out by members of inspection teams selected from the Socialist Patriotic Youth League branches in each district of the city,” said a Daily NK source.
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Young people are now reportedly being stopped at random in the street where their mobile phones are also examined which is not something that would have normally happened in the past.
As well as clothing, youngsters are being questioned about what music or videos they are watching.
A typical example saw a student at Pyongyang Medical University, aged in his 20s, stopped by an inspection team in the street on April 21, reported Daily NK.
His phone was taken from him and during an inspection that lasted over 30 minutes, a South Korean song was found leading to him being prevented from attending university lectures and he was also forced to write self-criticism letters each day.
The student’s case has now been handed over to the courts and there is an ongoing investigation into how he got hold of the video with the song.