Friday, January 27, 2012

Cellphone Usage in North Korea Now Considered a War Crime

Kim Jong-ilLet's be honest, living in North Korea sucks, big time. The standard of living in the country is nearly barbaric and don't even get me started on former "leader" Kim Jong-il. While the ex-dictator's death may have seemed like a bright light for the country, it has actually resulted in more restrictions. It has recently been reported that North Korea has warned its citizens that any use of a cellphone whatsoever during the mandatory 100 days of mourning (more like 100 days of celebration) for Kim Jong-il's death is prohibited and that any citizen who violates this will be treated as a war criminal.

And I thought things couldn't possibly get any worse. The Workers' Party issued the threat in an attempt to deter North Korean citizens from fleeing the country to South Korea or China. It is reported that there are nearly 23,000 defectors living in South Korea as North Korea is experiencing food shortages, among other things. It is also assumed that the rule in the country is trying to deter people fleeing in order to ensure the stability of North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un, the son of Kim Jong-il.

Citizens attempting to flee the country, as well as those detained in China, are usually forced to work in terrible labor camps while repeat offenders are normally executed. The former dictator died on December 17th when he suffered a well-deserved heart attack at the age of 69. Years of mismanagement economically as well as stagnation have weakened the oppressive regime and it is even feared that the death of Kim Jong-il could result in public unrest (let's hope so).

Citizens of the country are severely limited in their connection to the outside world with the use of cellphones only permitted for a privileged few. However, discontent could increase if word of conditions outside the country and the other rebellions going on the world were to reach the citizens via cellphones. However, if using that phone could lead to imprisonment or execution, it could be hard for people to revolt.

United States-based research and consulting firm The Eurasia Group has identified that North Korea is the fifth-largest threat to international world stability in 2012. The firm noted that the "lack of information about events" in North Korea, as well as its new leader, is a high risk that is being "severely underplayed". It is far too early to tell what the country will be like under Kim Jong-un, though if he is anything like the man that raised him, we can assume things will only get worse.

Source: Engadget - North Korea makes using a cellphone a war crime during 100-day mourning period
Gizmodo - Using a Cell Phone in North Korea Is Now a War Crime
The Telegraph - North Korea threatens to punish mobile-phone users as 'war criminals'

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  1. I think this is bad decision from the Korean government. Because it is the ban of their freedom from using the mobile and it is one of the device which can help them every time when they are in bad condition. How they can take this decision.

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  2. Korean government had taken bad step. Mobile is a great device which helps people to connect with others easily. So they have to allow people to use it freely rather than ban mobiles. Hope they think again do do something good for their citizens.

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