Jang Jin-sung

Jang Jin-sung is the ex-State Poet of Kim Jong-il's regime, and one of the 24,000 North Korean defectors who currently live in South Korea. He has the dubious distinction of having dined with Kim Jong-il twice, for which he attained a 'divine' immunity only granted to the few individuals who have had a personal audience of as many as 20 minutes with Kim. Jang escaped in 2004 by crossing the Tumen River into China. Following his arrival in South Korea, he worked in the National Security Research Institute and published his first book of poetry, I Am Selling My Daughter For 100 Won, which sold more than 80,000 copies. Jang's account of the 35 days he spent in China on the run from Chinese and North Korean spies before his rescue by South Korean agents started out as a weekly series posted on his blog. It grew to become a viral sensation and was published as a book in Korean.