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Paul French: Chollima Speed to Slow Motion Famine

In Cambridge and London this week.

First, Tuesday, 29th January, 2008 at 5pm in the Common Room, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge Department of East Asian Studies presents an East Asia Institute seminar:

Paradise Lost: From Chollima Speed to Slow Motion Famine How North Korea Got Where it is Today

To be given by:

Mr Paul French
Access Asia, Shanghai

From one of the worlds 20 largest economies in 1975 to an estimated two million dead from famine twenty years later and then to the worlds most isolated and little understood nuclear power. How did North Korea manage to so spectacularly mismanage its economy, manage its people, seal its borders and get the bomb? Paul French, the author of North Korea: Paranoid Peninsula A Modern History (Zed Books, London, 2005) details the rise, fall and dynamics of North Koreas economy, society and political leadership and the likelihood of future change.

Since the breakthrough agreement between North Korea and the USA in February 2007 it appears that the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula has some forward motion at last. However, while the nuclear threat is being tackled North Korea itself remains in a state of advanced economic collapse, food shortages and political ossification. The talk will include a round up of the current state of North Koreas economy, the possibilities of economic liberalisation and the current views from Washington, Pyongyang and Beijing on the DPRK.

Paul French is a founder and the Chief China Representative of Access Asia based in Shanghai. Founded ten years ago, Access Asia specializes in providing information on Chinas economy and consumer/retail markets. He is also a contributor to the China Economic Quarterly and the China Editor of Ethical Corporation Magazine. French is also a member of the board of international advisors for the North Korea Investibility Index (NKII). He studied Chinese and Asian studies at the University of London and socialist theories and movements at the University of Glasgow.

French was the co-author of the 1998 book One Billion Shoppers: Accessing Asias Consuming Passions and also the author of North Korea The Paranoid Peninsula (2005) and A Tough Old China Hand The Life, Times and Adventures of an American in Shanghai (2006) a biography of the legendary Shanghai based journalist and ad man from the 1930s. His next book Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines Will Change a Nation will be published in 2008.

The talk will be re-run at SOAS on Friday evening, 1 Feb, at 5pm as part of the Spring term evening seminar series.

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