[KS] reception for Kang Chol-hwan, author of "Aquariums of Pyongyang"

T.N. Park tnpark at mac.com
Tue Oct 4 23:36:18 EDT 2005

Korean Studies specialists who are in Seoul or the area might find this 
an interesting event.


Democrats Abroad Korea (DAK) and Republicans Abroad Korea (RAK) are 
working on non-partisan areas where their concerns as American citizens 
living in Korea might overlap. Toward that end, on Sunday evening, 
October 9, the two groups are hosting a reception and presentation with 
Mr. Kang Chol-hwan, the author of "The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten 
Years in the North Korean Gulag."

"The Aquariums of Pyongyang is one of the most terrifying memoirs I 
have ever read. As the first such account to emerge from North Korea, 
it is destined to become a classic." -- Iris Chang, author of The Rape 
of Nanking

WHO: this is open to anyone interested in attending.
Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

WHAT: presentation, talk, and Q&A with Mr. Kang

WHERE: Seoul Club
A map can be found here:
Dongguk University Station (line #3) is closest, and then it's about a 
ten- or fifteen-minute walk in the direction of Namsan.

WHEN: Sunday, October 9,
Reception at 6:00 p.m.
Presentation at 7:00 p.m.

COST: 36,000 won (food will be served)

To reserve a spot, email Jonathan Hilts (of DAK) or call 
(019-362-5103), or email Gene Gerth (also of DAK) 
<raymond.e.gerth at us.army.mil>. We can collect your money later or you 
can pay on-line. The sooner the better (if we have a ballpark figure by 
Friday, that would be great, but we can accommodate people later than 
that, of course).

On-line payment can be made directly to:
John Y. Lee (of RAK)
Korea Foreign Exchange Bank account #221-18-18476-2
After paying on-line, email a copy of your deposit slip to event 
coordinator Andy Jackson (of RAK) at <andyinrok at yahoo.com> or fax it 
during business hours at 031-400-7020, in order to confirm your payment.

If there are any problems, email Nate Hilts (of DAK) or call 
(019-362-5103), or email Gene Gerth (also of DAK) 
<raymond.e.gerth at us.army.mil>.

Mr. Kang made international headlines when President George W. Bush 
praised his book and held a private, 40-minute meeting with him to 
discuss the horrific human rights situation in North Korea. Regardless 
of where one stands on Bush's political policies toward North Korea, 
concern about the immense suffering at the hands of the Pyongyang 
regime is something that Democrats and Republicans alike both share, 
and it's certainly something that has the president's attention.

Kang was raised in relative privilege in the North Korean capital of 
Pyongyang. Then in 1977, at the age of nine, he was imprisoned with his 
entire family in the Yodok prison camp after his grandfather was purged 
by the Kim Il-sung regime.  He and his family endured beatings, 
malnutrition and other mistreatment for ten years before finally being 

After escaping North Korea Kang co-authored The Aquariums of Pyongyang, 
a memoir of his experiences before, during and immediately after his 

Kang is the first survivor of a North Korean concentration camp to 
escape the "hermit kingdom" and tell his story to the world. In his 
book, Kang revealed the human suffering in his camp, with its forced 
labor, frequent public executions and near-starvation rations that Kang 
supplemented with rats and bugs. He eventually escaped to South Korea 
via China to give testimony to the hardships and atrocities that 
constitute the lives of up to two hundred thousand people said to be 
still detained in the gulags today. Part horror story, part historical 
document, part memoir, part political tract, and this story of one 
young man's personal suffering finally gives eyewitness proof to a 
neglected and ongoing chapter of modern history.
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