Everyone is familiar with North Korea. The country always manages to grab people’s attention with its unpredictable behavior. It is one of the most repressive countries in the world and just gets worse and worse as time passes by. Under the Kim family’s rule, the country uses secret prison camps to silence anyone who speaks against him. Anyone who stands in their way is tortured through hard labor until death.
The country isolates itself and rejects any help from outside world. People living in the country often try to escape to South Korea in hopes of a better life. The fortunate ones make it and the unfortunate ones are forced to live a hard life. Here we give you 25 bizarre and strange facts about North Korea that will make you feel like you are living in heaven.
1. An image taken by NASA of the Korean Peninsula at night shows the country engulfed by complete darkness.
Unlike its neighboring countries of South Korea and China, North Korea is completely covered by darkness. A picture taken aboard the ISS (International Space Station) shows how it smoothly blends into the surrounding darkness. In the early 1990’s, the defunct Soviet Union stopped providing power to the country. North Korea only uses less than 3% of electricity unlike its neighbors.
2. Anyone who violates the law is subjected to the “three generations of punishment” rule.
North Korea has a secret network of internment camps (Kaechon internment camp) that hold about 200,000 political prisoners. The camps were created shortly after the Korean War. Anyone who is found guilty of crimes such as political infidelity, attempted escape from North Korea or any other action that threatens Kim Jong Un’s communist regime, is sent to this camp along with their family. The following two generations of the family will also live and die in the camp as a result of the crime.
3. North Korea holds elections every five years with one name in the ballot list.
The elections usually have 100% turnouts and one name on the ballot list. Voters are allowed to choose anyone else by crossing the name out without any privacy or anonymity and have to do so in a special voting booth. The Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland wins all seats and makes voting mandatory for every citizen in the country.
4. Poverty in North Korea is believed to be extensive.
Of the 24 million lives in the country, almost half live in extreme poverty, according to the KUNI report. The people subsist on corn and kimchi with restricted access to fuel for cooking. One-third of the children suffer from malnutrition and the average life expectancy has fallen to 69 within the past five years. Most of the workers earn $2-$3 a month from the government to support their family.
5. Students are required to pay for chairs, desks and heating fuel.
If the citizens of North Korea want their children to go to school, they are required by law to provide desks, chairs, building materials or even cash to pay for the heating fuel. Some families who can’t afford it have the option to put their children to work for the government to produce goods or collect discarded materials. Some parents go as far as bribing the teachers to keep their children out of labor or school, even though it violates the official policy.
6. North Korea claims to have a 99% literacy rate.
The educational system is universal and state-funded. Children go through one year of kindergarten, four years of primary education, six years of secondary education, and then on to university. According to the official news channel of North Korea, the country has a 99% literacy rate. Children are often taught how to write, “President for Eternity” Kim, Il-sung and “Dear Leader” Kim, Jong-il before they know their ABC’s. Once they are capable of writing that, the government declares them as 99% literate and compares them with the U.S..
7. Human feces is used as a substitute for fertilizers.
The country isolates itself from other countries and as a result, faces many problems. One of the main challenges is lack of resources, which they overcome with human feces. Citizens are forced to provide it by law and have to meet a certain quota. People go as far as to steal it from squat toilets when they are short.