Unknown numbers of people have been held as slave laborers in China’s “Laogai” (labor reform camps). Human rights organizations claim that Falon Gong practitioners are often targeted for arrest, along with ethnic minorities, Catholics, Protestants, and Tibetans. By some estimates around 100,000 Falon Gong practitioners have been sent to the Laogai. Sam Lu was one of these individuals. Sam, who now lives in the US, was imprisoned in 2000. He wrote his story to help end the ongoing enslavement of his wife in a different Chinese labour camp.
I used to be a graduate student in Georgia State University in 1996. I’d like to share my personal experience to let people know why some products from China are so cheap. Before I returned to the USA in February 2001, I worked as a tax auditor in China for nine years. On June 7, 2000, I was arrested in China only because I handed in a letter at the State Appeal Bureau in Beijing to express my opinion about Falun Gong, which is a traditional exercise based on “Truthfulness—Compassion—Forbearance,” and is being persecuted in China. I was put in a jail in Guangdong Province for almost two months.
Here I will not mention how the Chinese government persecuted family church members, Tibetan Monks and Falun Gong practitioners. I only want to let you know how some products from China are made and why they are so cheap.
In prison, I was forced to work on export products such as toys and shopping bags without pay…The cell was only about 300 sq. feet in size, with 20 prisoners and one toilet inside. They slept and worked in the cell. Sometimes we were forced to work until two am to keep up with the schedule. They only provided two meals a day (only once a week you have meat in your food). In other words, being hungry, you still need to work more than 15 hours per day. The police used a wire whip to beat you if you did not do a good job or you could not keep up with the schedule.
During this desperate time in prison, I was always wondering who gave them the business and who helped them to abuse us. Now the same kind of tragedy is happening to my wife. She was sentenced to forced labor camp for three years without any trial and without a lawyer only because she handed out flyers in the street to clarify to the Truth about Falun Gong. She has already been detained for more than 34 months. In my wife’s letter to my parents, she mentioned that she was forced to do embroidery work for export. The hard work, malnutrition and torture made my wife almost lose her eyesight.
In that female labor camp alone where my wife is detained now, about 3000 female Falun Gong practitioners have been detained there and forced to work for export business. According to human rights organizations, there are more than 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners detained in China’s Forced Labor Camps. How many people other than Falun Gong practitioners are detained in forced labor camps and prisons and are forced to work without pay for China’s export business? Who knows?
Narrative as written by the narrator, October 16, 2003, Atlanta.