Beijing Women's Forced Labour Camp was once described by the Chinese Communist regime as a garden-like school tiled with pink and white walls, and surrounded by lush green lawns. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spread propaganda that the guards at this facility cared for the inmates just like a mother would care for her child, or a teacher his students, or a doctor his patients.
In fact, this labour camp detains several hundred female Falun Gong practitioners year-round. Most of them are in their fifties and sixties. Each brigade consists of 80-100 women with 10 to 20 non-practitioners incarcerated for doing drugs, pornography, gambling, and burglary. Of the other internees 80-90 are Falun Gong practitioners. Many of these practitioners have been tortured by thugs and collaborators1 in this camp for not giving up their beliefs. Falun Gong practitioners are also forcibly subjected to systematic brainwashing aimed at “reforming” [forcibly renounce Falun Gong] them to give up Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Forced labour is deemed by the CCP an important system for “reforming” Falun Gong practitioners. With the slave labour system, the CCP tortures them even as it insults their human dignity and tries to destroy their strong belief in Falun Gong.
A. Systematic and Regularized Forced Labour
The No. 6 Brigade of the camp is mainly responsible for making garments in a workshop. Many of the practitioners here are young. The No. 3 Brigade is a general team, mainly working in the fields. The No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 Brigades do other types of work, and most of the internees are older.
1. Refusing to Work Results in Severe Punishment
The persecution of practitioners in the Beijing Women's Forced Labour Camp is systematic. Over the years of persecution, it has invented a specialized, systematic practice for destroying human nature. There are administration sections, education sections, and labour sections in the camp. The administration section is responsible for the paper work and routine management of the inmates and is empowered to pass and alter sentences. The education section takes care of the so-called teaching and instruction, which is, in fact, brainwashing. The “education” label camouflages its true role in the persecution. The labour section functions to exploit the inmates. It contracts with outside businesses and then divides the work inside and amasses enormous, illegal profits.
Falun Gong practitioners are indoctrinated through the “labour class” to earn work credits. With the credits, they can be treated as “normal grade prisoners” in the labour camp. Even the old, weak, sick, and handicapped must participate in this kind of forced labour. They otherwise will face various penalties, including extension of their terms.
2. Forced Labour Is an Inhumane Persecution Method
Forced labour is used by the CCP labour camps to further punish, abuse, and torture Falun Gong practitioners and implement a long-term persecution of Falun Gong.
Before going to work, the inmates form lines in the main hall. The lines move to the workshop under the surveillance by guards. During the procession, talking and greeting others is prohibited. Even two acquaintances smiling to each other would be enough for the guards to monitor them more closely thereafter. When they get to the entrance of the workshop, they have to recite the inmate “code of practice” before they are allowed to enter.
After work, the inmates must again stand in lines. The guards search everyone, including their pockets, collars, name tags, sleeves, trouser legs, palms, and water cups. Shoes also need to be taken off and are tapped a few times on the ground searching for items.
Besides using the toilet and fetching hot water, there are no breaks. Before going to the toilet, the inmate has to report and then get approval to go in a group. If the toilet is occupied, she may have to wait for a long time. A practitioner in the No. 2 Brigade was denied access to the toilet by a guard who cursed her. She ended up with urinary frequency. She felt suffocated and had a stomachache. Her symptoms of urinary frequency got worse and worse.
Each squad has collaborators who strictly monitor practitioners and assist the guards in surveillance and examination of their work. If they are not happy with somebody, not only do they reprimand and swear at her, they also make things very difficult for her. Many guards watch on the side with sarcastic smiles. If somebody dares to rebel, the guards support the strict collaborators to punish the resisters even more. They guards also insist that all squads carry out labour competitions. If somebody is slow at her work they label her as “lazy” and resistant to being “reformed.” She is then placed under critical surveillance, strict monitoring, and even more brainwashing.
In the camp, one is not allowed to know the time. There are no clocks, and guards control the time by giving orders to the squad heads. When a batch of work comes in, we have to get up early and work a long day until it is finished. From time to time, the working hours are extended. Some weekends are used to work overtime. The lunch breaks or toilet break time can also be shortened to expedite the work. In case a squad does not complete the quota, mealtime will be postponed until the quota is met. Sometimes, we have to work over ten hours per day. Oftentimes, we are subjected to intense work continuously for a fortnight without any relief. During the scorching summer, up to a 100 people are packed into a small room, working with no air conditioning and no fans. The air is stale and everyone is soaked with sweat.
No matter how tired we are during the workdays, after work we have to face the weekly “house search” either by the labour camp authorities or by the brigade authorities. They come to search our bed, table, cabinet, pillow and quilt, leaving the room in a mess. Being already tired we have to reorganize our room and we need to find time to wash our work garments. After dinner, we are forced to sit on a narrow bench and watch CCTV nightly news. After watching, we have to write down our feelings about the CCP propaganda.
B. Poisonous Products Sent Out Around the World
To the outside world, Beijing Women's Forced Labour Camp looks like a garden, but behind the scenes, it hides a miserable reality.
1. The Most Routine Products are Filthy
We pack cotton swabs into plastic containers. The cotton swabs look yellowish, old, and mouldy. There are no hygienic guidelines, nor is there a trademark. The swabs are not sterilized. They are packaged everywhere, including on tables and on the ground. Invisible fine cotton fibres float in the air and enter people's noses.
2. The Most Tiring Work
People have to stand to pack mung beans. Some people do the weighing, some do the bagging, and others do the sealing and transportation. Since the mung bean bags are heavy, our arms are very sore at the end of the day with our waists and backs also in great pain. We are exhausted every day. For one batch of work, we may have to work from a few days to as long as two weeks.
3. The Dirtiest Work
Packing dry tea is also a very tiring job. Packing tea is similar to packing mung beans, but the tea is dirtier and produces more dust pollution. Prior to packing, several cartons of tealeaves are poured onto a large table. The dust from the tea gets onto people's clothes, skin, eyes, ears, mouths, and lungs, making one choke. The entire workshop is filled with the dust, causing people difficulty breathing and seeing. In the forced labour camp, each person has only a small white cap and one face mask. After using them a few times, the face masks and caps become stained yellowish green, even after washing, from the tea dust.
For green tea and red tea, the work will last one to two weeks. These poor working conditions have severely damaged the health of many Falun Gong practitioners.
4. The Hardest Work
Assembly of wooden toys and thick picture books is the hardest. First, they have to be unloaded from the truck and moved into the workshop. They are then placed into bags or boxes and packed into large cartons, weighed, and moved back to the truck one carton at a time. Those who carry out this heavy assembly work are a group of elderly women in their fifties and sixties.
5. Toxic and Harmful Products
Folding a card and sealing the edges with glue produces a product that is similar to a phone card case. This glue has a pungent odor that can irritate the eyes, causing them to tear, and it is highly toxic. Outside the labour camp, not many people want to do this job, which is why it is brought into the labour camp, where inmates are forced to do it. The labour camp conceals the dangerous nature of this job from us. For a long time, the labour camp did not provide any protection for those doing this job.
6. Producing Souvenirs for the 2008 Olympics
The forced labour camp produced an album for the 2008 Olympics by inserting bus tickets printed with the image of various Olympic venues and DVDs. The camp required the work to be completed within certain time limits. It deceived inmates by saying, “Although you can't participate in the Olympics outside, you can contribute to the Olympics this way.” In those days, the work was very intensive. The materials and trucks came in often as we worked on the albums. The trucks hauled the boxes of finished products out of the labor camp. The different squads were forced to enter a work contest. No squad could have a day off if the quota was not met and no one could have dinner if the scheduled work was not completed.
7. Working the Fields
Outside the labour camp the inmates have to dig deep cellars to store vegetables. Behind the forced labour camp, there is a large piece of land with quite a few cellars for winter vegetable storage. Primarily Falun Gong practitioners dig these cellars. The cellars are quite wide and deep (about half a person's height). Under the monitoring of several guards, each cellar has to be finished in half a day.
We are forced to plough the land and plant peanuts. In the spring, most of the land is prepared for planting peanuts. The land is covered with deep-rooted wild grasses, so it is difficult to plough directly. The guards force practitioners to use their hands to pull up the wild grass roots. Because of the debris and stones, our gloves become pierced and damaged. There is no specific ploughing equipment, and all we had to plough the land with was a shovel and pick. This piece of land was even worse than the ploughing conditions in our primitive and poor mountainous areas. Dozens of acres of lands are ploughed by Falun Gong practitioners using only a shovel and pick. After tilling the land, we had to sow, fertilize, weed, harvest, and sun dry all the produce. All of this work was done by the Falun Gong practitioners.
The work of weeding and picking up dry tree leaves sounds easy, but it is actually one of the heaviest routines continuing all year round. The areas not only include those inside the labour camp, but also cover those areas surrounding the labour camp to put on a show for inspections, visitors, and contests. Falun Gong practitioners are forced to do this work.
In the spring and the rainy season, the grass grows fast. We have to get up early every morning to go to the field to remove the weeds before we eat breakfast. Our shoes and socks become soaked with dew or rainwater. We are not allowed to sundry our shoes, so mold grows in them. However, we still have to wear the wet, moldy shoes to do the fieldwork the next day.
When we pick up the dry leaves, we are not given any tools. We have to use our hands to pick up the leaves from autumn to winter. The labour camp authorities demand that we pick up every single tree leaf on the ground around the forced labour camp. Since tree leaves fall continuously, our work is endless, until winter. The labor intensity for this work is tremendous. When the leaves are piled like a hill, we bag the leaves that are then transported outside for disposal. This is very dirty, dusty, and suffocating work. Sometimes, one day’s work makes one's clothes get so dirty that it is impossible to get them clean again.
The most ridiculous thing is that the authorities do not provide us with any tools to do this work. We have to use our hands like primitive peoples. In a sense, this is another form of discrimination and punishment. It is an insult to human dignity.
9. Other Forced Labour Products
Products for export include plastic bags for packaging menstrual sanitary pads. The string of the bag is attached to it by using a toothpick or a metal pin to pierce into its sealed closure. The bag is covered with foreign language. It does not seem to be English, and it looks more like French. There is no Chinese written on the bag at all. It is said this is an export product.
Another product is holiday gifts, such as gifts for autumn festival. On holidays, the work in the forced labour camp is actually heavier. In 2008, before the autumn festival, the moon cakes needed to be packed into boxes. There are seven or eight kinds of moon cakes. Each squad packs one or two kinds of moon cakes in a production line. At the end, another squad assembles various moon cakes into one large souvenir box. Since it is a line production, one cannot stop during the process. Guards and collaborators keep pushing the workers to go faster, so as not to affect the subsequent steps. If a squad is slow, they yell at the workers.
In the camp, some agricultural products like mushrooms are also packed in gift boxes, in a production line.
From the above information it can be seen that the forced work in the Beijing Women's Forced Labour Camp is not only systematic, but also ruthless and brutal, predominantly aiming at persecuting and torturing innocent Falun Gong practitioners. Everything the forced labour camp has done is underhanded and reprehensible.
The entire forced labour system is illegal according to the Chinese constitution, because it severely infringes on human rights. The marketing of such products is no doubt the most typical deception of a vast number of consumers, who are unaware of the true facts. This ongoing persecution can only take place under CCP rule. All this information confirms that the evil nature of the CCP.
1. "Collaborators" (former practitioners, brainwashed against Falun Gong, made to assist in brainwashing and torturing practitioners)
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