Pyongyang: North Koreans have been banned from having piercings and face new restrictions on ‘Western clothing’ including jeans.
Dictator Kim Jong-un has launched a nationwide crackdown on citizens but the ban will focus primarily on the North Hamgyong province and Yanggang province close to China.
Pyongyang is reportedly concerned that people living in those areas will be more exposed to the outside world and therefore more influence by Western fashion.
According to Japan’s Asia Press, the rules have been tightened ahead of the 7th Congress of North Korea’s Workers’ Party.
Ishimaru Jiro, a Japanese journalist working with citizen reporters inside North Korea, wrote: ‘A growing number of North Korean people are infatuated with Western culture. The crackdown will continue until the end of the upcoming gathering (the 7th Congress).’
According to the Daily Telegraph, citizens will be monitored by a growing group of youths loyal to Kim Jong-un
Rimjin-gang, a North Korean news website supported by AsiaPress, said the ‘inspection’ units ‘target supposed capitalist tendencies such as length of skirts, the shape of shoes, T-shirts, hairstyles, and clothes.
It comes just months after it was reported that Kim Jong-un was ordering men to copy his ‘ambitious’ hair style limiting growth to a maximum length of 2cm.
Anyone breaching the restrictive guidelines faced having their hair shorn by authorities, especially in universities, who have been warned to watch out for any capitalist styles.
Women were advised to copy his wife, Ri Sol-ju’s bob.
The latest fashion crackdown comes as North Korea’s preparations for a fifth nuclear bomb test were revealed to be in their ‘final stages’ amid reports of a surge in activity at the country’s main atomic site.
South Korean and U.S. authorities detected two to three times more vehicle and personnel activities than normal this month at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site – where all previous four tests took place.
‘If they are signs of nuclear test preparations, it seems the preparations are in the final stages,’ South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said quoted one government source as saying.
In a regular meeting with her top adviser, South Korea President Park Geun-hye said the North could carry out such a test to bolster morale as the country deals with tough international sanctions imposed after it conducted a fourth nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch earlier this year.