Google Chief's Daughter Blogs About Pyongyang Trip

      January 22, 2013 12:36

      This file picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 8, 2013 shows former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and U.S. Internet giant Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt visiting a computer lab at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang. /Yonhap

      The daughter of Google chairman Eric Schmidt visited North Korea along with her father early this month and posted a rash of photos and comments about the visit on a new blog.

      "Our trip was a mixture of highly staged encounters, tightly-orchestrated viewings…," Sophie Schmidt writes. "We had zero interactions with non-state-approved North Koreans."

      Her group was chaperoned by a pair of official minders all the time.

      In a computer lab at Kim Il-sung University, the 90-plus seats were fully occupied, but most of the people were staring at a blank screen.

      It was only when Schmidt took a subway in Pyongyang that she finally saw North Koreans residents in a natural setting. "In a fantastic bit of timing, as we exited the train, the station's power cut out. The commuters around us immediately pulled out flashlights, which they presumably carry all the time," she wrote.

      Schmidt came away with the impression that due to constant state surveillance, North Korea is "like The Truman Show, at country scale." 

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