North Korea is reportedly cracking down on tinted windows as part of its efforts to fight back against the “yellow wind of capitalism” that is “spreading so rapidly among the youth” in the reclusive nation.
Police in the country have been issuing fines to drivers in the first instance and ordering them to get the windows replaced, confiscating the vehicles if they’re caught with the tinted windows again.
The ban is aimed at targeting the “yellow wind”, a term referring to “anti-socialist” influences in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
A focus of the “yellow wind” is the cultural exports of capitalist countries, and authorities in the hermit kingdom are worried young people are consuming movies, television and music from South Korea, Japan and the US in the back seats of vehicles, protected by the opaque glass.
Banning the tints could make it easier for authorities to detect their behaviour and enforce the Rejection of Reactionary Thought and Culture Act the country enacted in December.
Fines of up to $A65 are reportedly being issued to those who violate the new rule.
In NSW you can be fined up to $84 for having your window tint too dark but there is still a level of tint permitted (you’re allowed to block out up to 65 per cent of outside light for instance), the level of tint and the penalty differs from state to state.
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Sources who spoke to Radio Free Asia (RFA) — an outlet started by the CIA now funded through grants from the US Agency for Global Media but which officially operates as a non-profit aiming to “provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press” — claimed that drivers were pushing back against the new laws.
“Until now, all the guard posts on Route 1 only checked travel certificates and the volume of goods on vehicles, or they inspected the vehicle’s maintenance status,” an unnamed Sinuiju resident told RFA.
“Drivers find the crackdown ridiculous, so many argue with the police and security agents. They want to know how tinted car windows are part of capitalist yellow culture. The police argue that only people tainted by the yellow wind of capitalism would want to obscure the inside of their vehicles,” the resident said.
Another resident closer to the capital Pyongyang told RFA the DPRK’s ruling party was worried about losing its grip on power.
“Since the second half of last year, authorities said that the party’s ideological position and the rest of society would collapse if we do not root out capitalist culture, which is spreading so rapidly among the youth,” the source said, adding they don’t believe the crackdown will achieve that.
“The residents mock the authorities for the crackdown, saying that they are so nervous about the regime that they have resorted to turning car windows into an enemy of the state,” the second unnamed source said.
Official vehicles, which use an even darker tint to fully obscure their passengers from public view, are exempt.
Activist organisations such as the Fighters for a Free North Korea have previously launched balloons carrying things like pro-democracy literature and digital content on USB drives over the border from South Korea, a practice the South Korean National Assembly recently legislated to penalise in the same month their northern neighbours introduced the new thought and culture act.
The CIA reportedly engaged in similar methods to deliver radios when RFA first began broadcasting into China in 1951, but the balloons were flown back to Taiwan, where they had been launched from.