Male university students in North Korea have reportedly been ordered to get the same haircut as leader Kim Jong Un, according to new state-sanctioned guidelines introduced by Pyongyang two weeks ago.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source reportedly told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes."
The Korea Times added that some in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have reservations about the look.
Another North Korean source, now living in China, said that the style actually resembles Chinese smugglers.
"Until the mid-2000, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut,'" the source was quoted as saying.
North Korean men apparently had at least some choice before the new guidelines were introduced as they were allowed to pick between 10 different styles, while women were allowed 18 different styles.
The Daily Mail noted that in 2005, North Korea launched a TV series titled "Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle," which promoted short hairstyles, and sent hidden camera teams to catch, name and shame citizens who did not follow the hairstyle code.
North Korea has been known to hand out severe punishments for disobedience against its strict policies, ranging from imprisonment at labor camps to executions.
Earlier in March, Kim reportedly ordered the execution of 33 people who allegedly received money from a South Korean Baptist missionary to start 500 underground churches.
North Korea is listed as the country where Christian persecution is the worst, according to watchdog group Open Doors.
Kim's government has also been accused of committing "unspeakable atrocities" against its own people, including mass starvation and extermination, while he has been known to spend lavishly on private movie theaters and luxury cars.
Close to 400 pages of linked reports by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK in February exposed the extent of the crimes being committed in the Pacific nation, which include "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation."
The U.N. Commission urged the North Korean leader to render himself accountable for these crimes, and noted that it would recommend referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.