Mocking Kim Jong-un or his totalitarian regime in North Korea has been banned. North Koreans were warned against criticising the state in a series of mass meetings held by functionaries across the country.

“One state security official personally organised a meeting to alert local residents to potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” a source in Jagang Province told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service. “The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut.’”

As reported by The Independent, officials in Yangang Province told people that sarcastic expressions such as “This is all America’s fault” would constitute unacceptable criticism of the regime.

“This habit of the central authorities of blaming the wrong country when a problem’s cause obviously lies elsewhere has led citizens to mock the party,” an anonymous source said.

Another mocking expression, “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” was also said to be circulating in the totalitarian state, referring to the country’s notoriously isolationist leader.

Regional media have reported an increase in public acts of dissent in the country. Graffiti mocking the government and its leader have appeared twice in recent weeks, according to The Independent.

In a separate article, Vanity Fair described the ban on sarcasm as “the greatest idea in the history of the world”. The report also noted that North Korea’s Supreme Leader has been notable for elevating authoritarianism to disturbing new levels. In the first five years of his rule, Kim reportedly executed seven times the number of people his father executed in his first few years as Supreme Leader.