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Inside North Korea's Gulags, Featuring Blaine Harden

Blaine Harden, author of Escape from Camp 14. (Blake Chambliss)

In 2005, Shin Dong-hyuk escaped from Camp 14, a North Korean labor camp for political prisoners. Shin, whose prison sentence began at birth because of alleged crimes committed by his uncle, is the only person born and raised in one of North Korea's gulags known to have escaped.

Asia Society Northern California and the World Affairs Council together are pleased to host Blaine Harden, who documents Shin's story of hardship and survival in his new book, Escape from Camp 14. Based on two years of interviews with Shin, Harden tells the story of Shin's life in Camp 14, his harrowing escape from a life of slavery and his determination to adjust to a new life of freedom in the West. The book sheds new light on North Korea's labor camps, where up to 200,000 people are estimated to be imprisoned.

Blaine Harden is a reporter for PBS Frontline and a contributor to The Economist. He previously served as The Washington Post's bureau chief in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. He is the author of Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent and A River Lost: The Life and Death of Columbia.

Philip Yun (moderator) is Executive Director and COO of Ploughshares Fund. Previously, he was Vice President for Resource Development at the Asia Foundation and was a Pantech Scholar in Korean Studies at Stanford University. He is co-editor of the book North Korea: 2005 and Beyond. He has also served as an official at the U.S. Department of State in numerous negotiations and discussions with North Korea.

"[B]esides being a gripping story, unsparingly told, carries a freight of intelligence…"
The New York Times

"…Harden's book reads like a dystopian thriller. But this isn't fiction — it's a biography of Shin Dong-hyuk."
Publishers Weekly

This event is co-organized by the Asia Society Northern California and the World Affairs Council.

Seats are limited, so please register early to ensure a space at this event. 

For more information, please contact:

Maria Scarzella Thorpe
Program Associate
Asia Society Northern California
[email protected]


Event Details

Wed 11 Jul 2012
6:30pm - 8:30pm

World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter Street, #200, San Francisco, CA

Free for WAC and Asia Society Members (RSVP please); $15 for non-members