Malnutrition affects millions of children all over North Korea, with tens of thousands enduring stunted growth and severe nutritional deficiencies. The food shortages are partly caused due to a 20% decrease in food production leaving many outside the main cities – particularly children – with insufficient food to eat. In Pyongyang the situation is quite different, the leadership which has close ties to the regime is well fed and satisfied.
The taking of this photograph is against the law because it goes against the North Korean government claims that all the children in the country are well taken care of and none are underfed.
Soldiers on the farm
Farming is the most important national activity in North Korea and everyone must take part in one way or another. Since the North Korean government cannot afford to pay all its soldiers, new recruiters and lower rank soldiers often find time while not doing target practice and reciting military doctrine, to work on farms in order to make a living.
It is common practice for conscripted soldiers, like the young man in the picture, to work on farms in exchange for food or money.
Need a lift soldier?
There are almost no cars traveling the roads of North Korea and the locals usually walk or bike everywhere. So, when a car does come along, people often try to catch a ride, and the first in line to hitchhike are obviously the soldiers. But soldiers are relatively well off, shouldn’t they just use a bus or a train? The truth is there is no public transportation between towns and people cannot leave their home villages without a special written permit from the government to travel.
This picture shows a group of people taking advantage of the empty highway to walk between villages.
North Koreans are never tired
Very few North Koreans can afford private cars, therefore most of them walk or bike each way every day for many hours to reach their place of work.
Even professional cyclists competing in the Tour de France would complain after that much riding! However, that didn’t stop the photographer who snapped this shot from allegedly getting yelled at by his chaperone, on the basis that it is a crime to show people being tired in North Korea.
Computers with no electricity
To show off how modern their lives are, the North Korean government has their tour guides take visitors to an “average” North Korean family to show off the fact that they can afford computers and are connected to a special, North Korea only intranet!
Although the screen didn’t work because there was no electricity when this photo was taken, the actress, or North Korean citizen, was still typing on the keyboard.