The Chinese Communist Party's Hidden Crimes in the Forced Labour Camp System

In 2012, a few days before Halloween, Julie Keith from Oregon pulled out a box of Chinese-made Halloween decorations from her storage, intending to decorate. Astonishingly, when she opened the box she found a letter calling for help from Unit 8, Department 2 of Masanjia Forced Labour Camp in Liaoning Province, China.

The letter stated: “If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever. This product produced by Unit 8, Department 2 Masanjia Labour Camp, Shenyang, Liaoning, China. People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month). People who work here suffer punishment 1~3 years averagelly, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioner, who are totally innocent... only because they have different believe to CCP. They often suffer more punishment than others.” [Editor's note: This is the exact text of the letter.]

The letter shocked not only Julie but also the international community. Suddenly, crimes being committed in a Chinese forced labour camp became the focus of attention and condemnation of the Western media and the public sphere alike.

Since it came to power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has always claimed that it adheres to the rule of law, particularly after the days of “reform and opening-up.” But, in reality, the CCP has always operated outside the law, disregarded human rights, and persecuted decent people. It has transformed a beautiful country into a giant prison, and the forced labour camps across the country have been the worst offenders. Thousands upon thousands of Chinese people have been illegally detained in such labour camps and deprived of their basic human rights. The Chinese forced labour camps are bonafide hells in the human world. They are worse than the prisons, with no laws to obey and no one to oversee their base deeds. Countless, unimaginable killings, acts of torture, and crimes against humanity have taken place in these camps.

The camps persecute political dissidents and prisoners of conscience in all kinds of ways, including sleep deprivation, drug injection, indescribable sexual assault (including upon males), so-called psychiatric treatment, and, the very worst, organ harvesting from the living. The victims are abused physically and emotionally and often end up mentally disordered or dead.

Those who suffer the most in the forced camps are those with spiritual beliefs, and Falun Gong practitioners account for most of them. According to not-yet-completed statistics, at least 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been detained in forced labour camps since the persecution began on July 20th, 1999.

Masanjia Forced Labour Camp in Shenyang City, from which the letter for help was sent out, is notorious for persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. According to the Minghui website, prisoners there often hear screams of practitioners being tortured. When they refuse to give up their belief, they are forcefully injected with and/or fed nerve-damaging drugs. They are forced to watch brainwashing videos, beaten, and shocked with electric batons. Female practitioners have been stripped of their clothes and thrown into cells with men. The brutal torture there has caused at least five deaths, seven cases of psychological disorder, and numerous cases of physical disability.

Practitioner Mr. Zeng Zhen, who was detained in this labour camp, recalled in an interview: “The first thing one hears when arriving at the Dispatch Division of the forced labour camp is, 'Lower your head.' Next is the popping sound of the discharge of the electrical batons. Being shocked with electric batons is routine. I once witnessed an unmarried female practitioner get tied to a chair while four or five large men shocked her genitals and head until she lost control of her bladder and bowels; she then remained unconscious for a long time.

“There was another lady in her 50s. After guards unsuccessfully tried to force her to write a letter pledging not to practise Falun Gong, they stripped her and forced her to the floor by stomping on her. They then used four or five electric batons to shock her; the current was so strong that her body jumped up and down uncontrollably, even while they stomped on her. After they shocked her front, they shocked her back, as though they were making a pancake. Her body was blackened and charred all over, and there were lumps everywhere. Young or old, no one escapes.”

Not only are Falun Gong practitioners and others with spiritual beliefs detained in the forced labour camps and persecuted, but many unknown dissidents and people fighting for human rights are also detained. There are students, laborers, and citizens who participated in the June 4th, 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstration; farmers uwho have resisted illegal seizures of their lands by the regime; and citizens who have fought against the forced destruction of their homes. Prisoners also include all kinds of people who have appealed to the regime as well as those who have dared to criticize the CCP on the Internet.

Ren Jianyu, a 25-year-old civil officer, was one such person. He was detained in a forced labour camp near Chongqing in August 2011 because he published and forwarded emails that appealed for democracy and criticized Bo Xilai. Ren was released early when Bo was disgraced and lost political power. In his interview with the British Daily Telegraph, Ren described his 15-month experience in the forced labour camp and recounted his “anger, pain, and depression” while he was detained. “Twelve people were squeezed into a small space with bunk beds. It was a very harsh and depressing environment,” he said. “There was no heater in the winter and there were only two small electric fans in the summer. The blankets and clothes we used were leftovers from former inmates. All inmates were required to work long hours making packaging boxes and winding electric wires. The workload was very heavy, and I was never able to finish my assignments. I was always in a state of great anxiety, loneliness, and enormous pressure. I lost 33 pounds before the end of it.”

The forced labor camps scattered around the country are the Auschwitzes of China. Due to the CCP’s tight control of the media, little has been known about them until recently. Unless you had personally been detained or knew someone who had, you could never imagine the incredible crimes that take place in those camps.

Five decades ago, with the collapse of the Nazis, Auschwitz was labelled as a disgrace to human history. We are sure that the forced labour camps in China will face the same fate, and the crimes that are occurring in the Chinese forced labour camps will be judged.


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