Relating to a Plea from China

Last month a Falun Gong practitioner and former prisoner in China admitted to writing a letter found by an Oregonian woman in her K-mart Halloween decorations. The letter alleges the product was made in a Chinese labor camp by prisoners who work 15 hours a day and face torture and abuse. It requests, “Sir: If … Continue reading

Charter Cities Attempt to Reduce Poverty by Providing Options

The dominant trend in international development right now is to provide individuals with greater means to climb out of poverty on more or less their own terms. NYU development economist Paul Romer has pioneered what may be the latest, and perhaps craziest, idea in this trend.  What if we provide individuals with greater means to … Continue reading

Bangladesh and What Brings the Guilt Clouds

Last Friday I heard a brief exchange on The Diane Rehm Show’s Friday news roundup about the recent factory collapse/fire in Bangladesh in which at least 381 people have been confirmed killed. Susan Page of US Today stood in for Diane Rehm and interviewed, among others, James Kitfield of National Journal. Page asked Kitfield, “Do … Continue reading

What Does Australia Think of Our Asia Pivot?

While in Australia back in February I came across the Medical Association for Prevention of War. Curious, I walked into their office and wound up in an interesting dialogue with Nancy Atkin, the Executive Officer. I’ve been wanting to write about our conversation for some time since. It was a real treat to sit with … Continue reading

Who Needs More Testimony? Her Escape from North Korea

The emotional speech below is the first Ted Talk by a North Korean. Hyeonseo Lee fled her homeland when she was 14. Like other North Korean refugees who survived and found safety in South Korea and the US, she is still haunted by memories of what she saw as a child and during her escape. … Continue reading

Mamalu (When I look at the world)

John Pule’s Mamalu (When I look at the world) is one of a few contemporary pieces at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne that made me stop, look closer, and then think, “I have to blog this one.” Pule (born 1962) is from Niue, a South Pacific island country to the northeast of New … Continue reading

Potential Step Forward on Forced Labor in China

In November 2011 I visited the Laogai Museum here in DC and spoke with its founder Harry Wu. You may remember from that interview that the Laogai system is a form of “re-education through labor” used in China against dissidents for the last 50 years. In that interview Wu said, “No one should be able … Continue reading

Don’t Forget My Friends

I recently came across a CSPAN video of a September 2012 Hudson Institute panel on North Korea, in which Adrian Hong—co-founder of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK)—discusses the true extent of the problem and how it relates to each of us, even if we aren’t Korean or don’t think about the situation there very often. … Continue reading

Convict Porters and the Long Mile

Earlier this week, I interviewed my husband Michael about some of the human rights concerns in Burma / Myanmar. In his answer, he cited the problem of forced portering, in which the Burmese army takes people from villages and forces them to walk with heavy loads on their backs. This form of slavery has particular … Continue reading

On Burma: An Interview with Michael Miller

Recently I discussed some problems plaguing South Sudan and announced my husband will be working with that country as a research associate for PILPG. But there’s a second country he’s assisting, too: Burma! Since he just finished his first year of law school, he has some time on his hands for a few weeks. So … Continue reading

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