Skip to main content

2014-07-18, Day 1: Shanghai Austrian Economics Summit

I had an INCREDIBLE time at the Shanghai Austrian Economic Summit 2014, organized by Kenli Schoolland and Li Schoolland. Thanks to them for inviting me again. The conference was extra special this time because I was joined by three of my Freedom Factory colleagues. We had so much fun getting lost in Shanghai, bonding, and meeting and greeting so many people.

Yeonmi Park definitely stole the show. As several people at the summit mentioned--they talk about freedom, but she actually had to escape to it, at the risk of death. It was a busy week for her, with three speeches in seven days (Freedom Factory's "A Change is Gonna Come, a speech at Korea University, and the summit in China). She loves the many opportunities she has to travel abroad to speak, but this one was especially poignant because she was an illegal alien in China during 2007-09 after her immediate family escaped from North Korea. This time, she was a free woman, and loving it!

As for me, it was wonderful. I also gave a speech on the main day as I shared the stage with Yeonmi. I was co-host of the talent show, during which I rapped to Salt N' Pepa's Whattaman with my own version of the song, then showed off my intermediate level swing dance skills while dancing with Kenli and Yeonmi.

Yeonmi and I also got invited to give speeches in other parts of the world. So there could be more adventures coming up. Many more photos coming later.

Yeonmi and I spoke together on a panel, as I recall, we were featured presenters.

I did the warmup act presenting background info about North Korean refugees, then Yeonmi spoke.

But of course, she was the key person, even though she was a late invite.

With the welcoming party! Kenli Schoolland and Renee Cai!

Yeonmi Park talking--in English and Chinese--with Mao Yushi, the winner of the 2012 Milton Friedman Prize from the Cato Institute and an outspoken spokesman for freedom. 
His criticisms of chairman Mao almost landed him in prison. 

With Yoshida Hiroshi, our good friend from Japan! Eventually, we will make it to Japan, too!

Thanks, Kenli Schoolland, for putting together such a great conference!

Yeonmi Park holding a One Hundred Trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe... courtesy of one of my favorite people, Ken Schoolland! 

Bitcoin never looked so good! Several of these ladies work with a Bitcoin company. Wang Qijun will be coming to Seoul and probably speaking at an event I will co-organize with Yoojin Lee.

She spoken at the opening banquet about Bitcoin.

With Riya Basnet, who insisted that she is my #1 fan.

Feng Xingyuan is a pro-market economist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Vice Director of Uniurle Institute of Economics in China. I swear, he can connect any topic to the benefits of the invisible hand...

With TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee, Ami Chheda and Riya Basnet

With Ami Chheda 

with Dr.Kriengsak Chareonwongsak เกรียงศักดิ์ เจริญวงศ์ศักดิ์, President of the Institute of Future Studies for Development in Thailand.

at the opening banquet, with the Freedom Factory team, a student from Korea and her mother, as well as my good buddy Ken Schoolland

Barun Mitra...we meet again, in yet another country...India, Korea, Malaysia, China... He can discuss almost any issue in the world, and does so often.^^


Traveling with Yeonmi, Eunkoo and Yoojin was a great experience--but one that I may never want to do again. We got so lost on the subway. Looking at those photos, I am not surprised we got lost a few times.

Don't battle with Yeonmi Park, she wants to win, and will punish you harshly when you lose... but will remind you that she is a tiny young lady when it is her turn to get punished...


Eunkoo was better at the games than I was, so she was able to get revenge for the last 16 months we have been working together..

Buying subway passes, probably after we had wasted money getting lost.

There was a minor controversy with an promotional photo. A MANEL! Only men on the panel. I had recommended Yeonmi as a speaker, but she wasn't confirmed as a speaker until she published a great article in the Washington Post, written with her radio co-host. Then later, I did such a great job recommending her, they deleted my photo from the lineup.

Various photos taken during our travels.

Popular posts from this blog

2014-02-14 Yeon-Mi Park`s debut

Yeonmi Park, February 14, 2014, making her debut! Yesterday I was one of the speakers at a special session on North Korean refugees at the Canadian Maple International School. Wow, it was a wonderful time! * Yeon-Mi Park delivered her first major speech in English. She was wonderful! She told her story (35 minute speech without notes), discussed different aspects of North Korea, and then handled questions from students for more than an hour. She did seem to be nervous at the beginning-she took a deep breath just as she started, looked at me, then told her story from her heart. * Returning from the speech, I told Yeonmi that she had star potential. She told me that she didn't believe it, but I told her that the way she handled Q&A and told her story, I would be lucky to have her still returning my phone calls within a year. * The students had many questions. They have been learning about North Korea. They are now reading "Escape from Camp 14" featuring Shin Dong-h

2020-05-21 Goodbye, Katty Chi

I had heard through the grapevine and now it has been verified: Human rights activist Katty Chi has passed away. She is one of the first people that I met when I got involved in this cause. The first time was in 2012, at an event at the South Korea's National Assembly. She was super cool, one of my favorites as I used to say even when she was alive. And that is the important time to say such things, when people are alive. Whenever we met, I would say to her, "You know what happens when you meet me?" She would say, "Yeah. Time to take a photo?" I'm glad we did. And from Hyun S. Song, a close colleague of hers: And from Liberty in North Korea, the definitive announcement, August 4, 2020

Helping North Koreans 'strike the blow' (Korea Times)

H ave you ever engaged in action not because you were sure it would change the world, but to satisfy your own heart? That, I emailed to an American friend, is why I have joined the effort to help North Koreans who are trying to escape from their homeland. I can’t change the direction of policy in North Korea or China but I can row the boat I am sitting in rather than lamenting that I can’t steer the yachts somewhere else. So I have tried to do what I can: Attending protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Seoul (and I plan to do so when I visit America in April); donating money to the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights ( ); educating myself, writing articles and emailing friends; and, as a member of the board of trustees, I recently submitted a resolution to the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association (FDMHA) in Washington, D.C., to try to call attention to the plight of North Koreans. Our organization’s missi

Park Jin welcoming remarks to FSI (and Casey Lartigue)

  National Assembly member Park Jin makes the welcoming remarks at FSI's conference featuring North Korean diplomats. Park Jin | Greeting message to FSI and Casey Lartigue mention - YouTube

Kakao Story character in blackface

Kakao Story is a popular app made by Kakao Talk (a wildly popular instant messaging system in South Korea). Scrolling thr ough my Kakao Talk updates, I came acros s t he following and figured out how to snap a photo of it. * Today is "Black Day" in Korea. That's the day that people who didn't celebrate "White Day" on February 14 (when women give men gifts) or "Valentine's Day" on March 14 (when men give women gifts) eat black noddles to mark their loneliness. I suspect the NAACP would not be amused by this Kakao Talk character--CJL