Joo Yang is a game changer—A millennial
who grew up in a NEW North Korea.
Joo Yang had to stay behind when her parents escaped North Korea in 2007 and 2008. Living alone, she worked making Korean taffy, sweet rice drinks, and alcohol to sell in the private market. Her parents always found a way to maintain contact after they settled in South Korea, sending money and other resources to her through brokers. Her mother would even hand stitch Chinese brand names on South Korean clothing (South Korean brands are not allowed in North Korea) to send her.
One night, under the cover of darkness, a man on a motorcycle brought her a Toshiba laptop financed by her parents. With smuggled CDs and USBs, Joo Yang used the laptop to watch James Bond movies and South Korean dramas, anticipating a time when she would join her parents and no longer have to watch in secret.
Eventually, the authorities became suspicious of her father’s disappearance and confiscated Joo Yang’s home. She was forced to move and find work in a government warehouse. She used money she had saved to purchase gloves, socks, cigarettes, and snacks at wholesale, which she then sold to her coworkers for a profit. Later, with more money from her parents, Joo Yang was able to bribe her way into nursing school, which she attended for one year before defecting.
She now interns part time with LiNK and is preparing to enter university. She’s also a participant in the popular South Korean talent and talk show, “Now on My Way to Meet You,” which aims to bridge the gap between North and South Koreans.
At Summit, Joo Yang will speak about the changes happening in North Korea and her experiences.
Excited to meet Joo Yang? Register for Summit NOW!