Products Made by Detainees at Jilin Province Women’s Labour Camp

There have been many recent articles on the Internet covering the torture inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners detained in the labour camps and prisons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). One example was the article published on entitled “US Government Investigates the Letter Asking for Help Hidden in Decorative Products Made in China.” I would like to report what I witnessed--that the CCP makes huge profits from the products made by these detainees.

Jilin Province Women’s Forced Labour Camp (also called Heizuizi Forced Labour Camp) is in Heizuizi in Changchun City, Jilin Province. Prior to July 1999, there were only a few dozen detainees, not enough to make enough goods to maintain the staff salaries.

After July 1999, when the CCP started persecuting Falun Gong, the number of Jilin detainees increased dramatically. From 2000 to 2001, it reached a peak of 3,000. All seven units were filled. At that time, the underhanded businessmen and police officers signed numerous orders using the company name “Changchun City Arts and Crafts Factory.” The arts and crafts products included a dozen different kinds of butterflies, pigeons of various sizes, ducks, starlings, fish, beetles, ladybugs, and frogs. These products were exported to Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries.

Falun Gong practitioners were forced to work 15 -18 hours daily in Heizuizi Labour Camp.

Xiang Hong is a technician at Changchun City Arts and Crafts Factory. She is in her 50s and is from Changchun. She sent large numbers of orders to the labour camp, set the deadlines, and shipped out boxes and boxes of finished goods.

The amount of effort required to fill the orders was extremely intense. Practitioners were forced to work 17 – 18 hours, from 5 a.m. to midnight. They were given only 10 minutes to wash and use the toilet in the morning and only five minutes to eat meals and wash their dishes. If you didn't eat quickly enough, you would be hungry for the rest of the day. The work area was on the same floor as our cell. The conditions were terrible. Feathers filled the air,and stuck to clothing, bed sheets, and dishes. The air was filled with a strong odour from the feathers, dyes, and adhesives.

At the end of 2000, the first team was required to complete the order ahead of the original deadline. They were forced to pack 220,000 products in three days. The detainees had no rest for three days straight. After they finally finished, everyone had lost weight and felt dizzy and nauseous. The products had to be very delicate and beautiful. Take the butterfly as an example. They had to flatten the feathers (of different colours), tape them down, print the pattern with the mould, cut it, and glue it to the model (the body of a butterfly was made from hard foam), put antennas on its head and paint the eyes, and then wrap the lower part with thin wire. It had to look very real.

One time, a guard discovered a detainee not wearing her name tag and asked her where it was. Fearing that it might fall into one of the packages, they searched all night and finally find it in a box. The detainee was berated and beaten. At that time, the detainees couldn't understand why the guards made such a big fuss over a name tag. Now it is clear that they feared that they would be exposed for exporting products made by detainees.

After the products were packaged in a big box, the box was labelled. The first line of the label was the name of the product and the quantity. On the lower right corner, “made in China” was printed. All labels were in English. They were very strict about the number of labels.

On one occasion, two guards said, “It’s great! We got so many bonuses these last few months.” However, the detained Falun Gong practitioners only got eight yuan1 each month. They even had to pay for the mops and buckets used for cleaning.

One product that was packed by detainees was chopsticks. Bags and bags of chopsticks were shipped to the camp and laid out on the floor. The room was still filled with dust and feathers. The workers' hands were stained with dye, but they weren't allowed to wash them all day. How could those chopsticks be clean? One pair of chopsticks was put into a small bag. Two hundred small bags were packed into one medium bag. The customers would never imagine that the chopsticks had been packaged in such unsanitary conditions.


1. "Yuan" is the Chinese currency; 500 yuan is equal to the average monthly income of an urban worker in China.

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