When socialism and communism were first given public notice, it was because Karl Marx was progressively dissing centuries of royal regimes as doing nothing but repressing the people from advancement. The upper class was given the best treatment, while others struggled.
However, as communism grew more popular during the 20th century, it also became clear that it was not the best answer to creating equality for all. This became particularly clear when the communist countries’ upper classes were still experiencing all of the luxury and amenities, while the remainder of the population had none.
By now, most of the 24 that had become socialist or communist countries have long since adopted new political philosophies and structures. Once the red curtain tumbled in the U.S.S.R., the domino effect brought down most of the remainder.
Although there are still five countries that rigidly and strictly continue governing by this one-sided approach “intended to be for the good of the people”. Those countries are Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, China and North Korea. Each one wields unified power, but in different ways and in different strengths. For example, a traveler who visits South Vietnam may never see evidence of its communist roots. In North Vietnam, however, it is much more obvious as the police and military are seen in the airports, on the streets and communist flags are hung everywhere.
Some day communism may become extinct, but for now the five countries who hold onto its pillars of beliefs, have maintained a large number of extremely restricting laws and rules.
Russell Leigh Moses, dean of the Beijing Center for China Studies once said, “Historically, whenever the Communist Party is concerned about its image and its operation, it tends to produce instructions and guidance, and in doing so shows how seriously it takes official behavior,” he said.
That is one way of putting it. Check out our list of 16 that provide insights into the extreme nature of a communistic society. Would you be able to cope with any of them? It’s doubtful and makes us jump for joy at our own freedom.
15. One Child – China
This law has been in effect since 1979 and was initiated by leader Deng Xiaoping to help subdue and control the population growth. Population planning was actually intended to help decrease economic and environmental issues in the country’s future and reports state that it has achieved those goals, to date. This law was softened in 2013 and according to the Washington Post, there are now nine exceptions to the rule. A few of the exceptions: 1) couples who had a handicapped child, 2) if both parents are only-children, 3) if the first child was adopted because one of infertility in one of the parents.
14. Traveling Out of The Country for Too Long – Cuba
In the past, citizens of Cuba can not leave or return to the country without official permission. President Castro lifted this law in 2012. Every day, travel agency and airport queues are filled before opening time. Here’s the catch, according to a PBS interview with Ray Suarez and Cuban citizen, who stated “Once overseas, even legally, Cubans faced the prospect of losing their citizenship and property if they remained outside the country too long”. According to a story in the Washington Post, 11 months is the maximum time a citizen can be gone without becoming in danger of any negative actions.
13. Three Generations of Punishment – North Korea
According to a CBS News, 60-Minutes story, if you live in North Korea and commit a crime, you, your children and grandchildren will all be punished. They called it the three generations of punishment. This usually means a lifetime of prison – work camps. If you leave the country, you are executed upon capture and the same will go for those in your family. It’s not clear if they take the entire family or just one representative from each class, but we fear the worse in this case.
12. Saluting Passing Cars – China
This law is local to Luolang Elementary School in China’s Guizhou Province, but is worth sharing. eChinacities.com reported that children who attend this elementary school are required to stop and salute all cars that pass. This law was created as much more than honoring and respecting those driving the cars. The interesting thing, and a part of the law’s intention, is that it reduced accidents involving children being hit by cars to zero.
11. Criticizing the Government – North Korea
In the same CBS News, 60-Minutes story, we learned that under no circumstances are citizens permitted to criticize the government on any level. It is treason and could be punishable by death. We’re pretty sure Saturday Night Live would have lasted one minute in this country and the entire cast and crew would be long dead. This is so strict, that the death count from disobeying this law could be quite high. After all, governments are easy targets for criticism.
10. Refuse to Participate – Antisocial Behavior – Cuba
According to an article in The Guardian, if you happened to oversleep or come down with an illness, and miss participating in rallies and demonstrations that are organized by the Cuban Communist Party, you may be considered antisocial, which is punishable. If any behavior is seen as a potential threat, authorities have the right to jail, detain or convict someone.
9. Announce the Approach of a Russian – China
This is an old one that dates back to the beginning of the 1900s, but it is still in effect. It’s not likely citizens are required to act on it, in fact. But the law states that if you are Chinese and spot a Russian man or women, it is your duty to announce it. At that time, failure to do so could result in death, according to eChinacities.com.
8. Vices Need to be Kept Local – China
This Chinese county in the Hubei Province developed a rule where those who work at state-owned companies in the area could only buy cigarettes locally. A severely unhealthy purchasing quota was also imposed. The residents were supposed to buy 23,000 packs per year. A baijiu company tried to impose a similar law – eChinacities.com reports that the country’s central government put a stop to that one.
7. Human Waste as Fertilizer – North Korea
Another strict law that came out of the CBS News, 60-Minutes story was all about fertilizer. Fertilizer used to be supplied to the North Koreans by South Korea and years before, from the Soviet Union. Since both suppliers have stopped, North Korean farmers have had to rely on human feces. Worker feces from factories have been ordered to turn over all feces until they have met their two ton quota.
6. Government Approved Reading – Cuba
It’s not completely surprising that this communist country would not allow citizens to read books, newspapers or magazines unless they have been government-approved. It is not a particularly difficult law to uphold, since the government is the publisher of most everything. According to Public Radio International (PRI), the only way to read something outside of the approved list is to use some of the underground connections.
5. Three Classes – North Korea
CBS News, 60-Minutes reported these laws as being fairly secret – things they did not necessarily want to get out. Being a North Korean can be difficult. For example, if your family and ancestors have been loyal to the government, you are automatically in the Core class. These are generally people who are in the government or close to it. They are given the best treatment. The next class includes people in the middle – and is called the Neutral (or wavering) class. Although they are allowed to aspire to moving up, it is unlikely any will become a Core class member. The lowest class is comprised of those who are considered dangerous by the government – the Subversives. They are put in positions of poverty and are not allowed education.
4. Must Use Government-Appointed Attorney – Vietnam
It is never a safe idea to become an advocate of democracy if you are a Vietnamese citizen. In an article in Viet Tan, it is reported that you will be detained until convicted. Well, you may not be convicted, however chances are likely since the government must approve the defending attorney. In some publicized cases, the defendant’s attorney is limited to short speeches of about 15 minutes.
3. Strict Control on Basement Explosives – China
Everyone knows, the Chinese love their fireworks. In fact, they like them so much, we learned from eChinacities.com that a law was imposed stating that only one ton of fireworks is allowed in the basement or cellar of a home. One ton of explosives is still an enormous quantity. It’s difficult to imagine why anyone would want more than one ton, right?
2. Democratic Journalism – Vietnam
If you are a Vietnamese journalist and expect freedom of speech in your country, think again. It might not put you in jail immediately, but you will be detained, harassed, likely injured and possibly taken away. According to an in-depth article in the Washington Post, Artcle 258 remains in full effect. This article states “taking advantage of the right to democratic freedoms in order to violate the interests of the State.” That simple statement just about covers everything, including freedom to journalism.
1. Access the Internet – Cuba
The internet is completely controlled by the government in Cuba and according to Mashable.com, only about 5 percent have access. If you have not been previously approved, a rigid process will apply before you can jump onto any of the government-approved sites. There isn’t an American kid who would last one day with these rules.