In democratic countries, forced labor camps like those in China are regarded as illegitimate facilities because people held there have not been through the judicial process. However, in the "unique" political system under the Chinese Communist Party, innocent people are arbitrarily deprived of their freedom and sent to "education through labor camps." The prisons and labor camps in China have become underground factories. Companies owned by prisons and labor camps are exempt from income and property taxes, as the regime wants to encourage economic growth and to attract foreign investment at any cost.
Due to low-cost labor, products made at these places flood the world market with artificially low prices, bringing prison and labor camp authorities who raise work quotas and further exploit detainees tremendous profits. A part of the income is used to build additional incarceration facilities.
Shanghai Women's Labor Camp was officially put into use in 2001. From the outside, it looks like a giant garden, yet its appearance is very deceptive. Detainees here are treated with great cruelty.
1. After entering the front gate, or Gate No 1, one sees a police building and a reception room. Factory staff live inside the building.
2. Going straight forward, passing through the electronically activated Gate 2, is where detainees are held. The gate guards' office is located right next to the gate. All trucks coming to or from the factory pass through this gate.
3. The labor camp houses the Qingyuan Art School. It exists mostly to deceive visitors, and also to take money from detainees' families. Detainees are rewarded with points [the point system correlates with sentence reduction] if they take classes here. The tuition for each class costs between 600 Yuan and 800 Yuan. Many detainees take the classes in the hopes of getting out of the hell-like conditions inside sooner. The first-aid office is located on the ground floor, and the reception room is located on the second floor.
4. The camp cafeteria snatches what little pay the detainees are doled out and puts it back into camp officials' pockets.
5. The flagpole in the middle of the camp is where detainees are made aware of their "status" and are forced to swear loyalty to the CCP. Those who disobey or express different opinions are punished with longtime standing, running ten laps, solitary confinement, handcuffing and eating terrible food, among other things. They are tortured until they are exhausted and "bow their heads and confess their crimes." The flagpole area is the place where activities are conducted and detainees are "fixed."
6. In the Newcomers' Division 1, to meet the requirement of profit for the labor camp, people are first "disciplined" for three months, where heart-wrenching screams are familiar sounds. These people are made examples of to intimidate other detainees. Living quarters are located on the first and second floors and are designed to deceive visitors. The other floors are assembly lines.
7. Division 5 is located on the fifth floor, close to Division 2. People held here are exclusively Falun Gong practitioners who live and work in total isolation and are forbidden to leave without permission. Camp authorities send inmates to deliver food to the practitioners in a cart in order to keep the practitioners separated from the rest of the detainees.
8. Division 3 holds repeat drug offenders. The first floor and second floor are assembly lines, and the rest are living quarters.
9. Division 2 also holds repeat drug offenders, but it's a "strictly controlled" division. Living quarters can be found on the third and fourth floor, with assembly lines in the rest of the building.
10. The Qingyuan Supermarket was recently built. The shopping area is on the ground floor; assembly lines are on the second and third floor, which produce electronic products. The second floor belongs to Division 2 and the third floor belongs to Division 4, a drug rehabilitation division. The conference room is on the fourth floor.
Since 1999, an unknown number of Falun Gong practitioners in Shanghai have been forced to work against their wills and without pay in this so-called "garden-like" camp. Those who persevere and safeguard their belief in Truth-Compassion-Forbearance are starved and subjected to corporal punishment such as eating bad food, long-term standing and sitting, sleep deprivation. Sometimes the authorities suspend the practitioners by their cuffed hands from metal bars outside the window, such that their feet barely touch the ground. They encourage other inmates to verbally and physically attack Falun Gong practitioners. They extend the practitioners' terms and forbid family visits. The Communist regime often advocates "human rights is first the right of living" while slyly taking away the right of living from Falun Gong practitioners.
Suicides are common among the detainees, as the hellish life soon becomes intolerable for many. For this reason, lights in the cells are left on at night so the guards can check on inmates. The saying, "We work from [the hour when] rooster crows until the ghosts whisper" describes the busy forced labor schedule.
The cheap products made in these labor camps are attractive to foreign buyers because they can be sold so cheaply. Many foreign corporations thus have unintentionally violated their country's laws and international laws when they import these products, as many international pacts ban the importation and sale of products made under such inhumane conditions. Many Chinese companies contract with labor camps and prisons to benefit from the free labor. Examples include Shanghai Three Gun Co., Ltd., Shanghai Daphne Shoe Co., Ltd., Shanghai Global Toy Co., Ltd., Shanghai Yousheng Toy Co., Ltd., Shanghai Shenxin Toy Co., Ltd., Shanghai Changfu Toy Co., Ltd., Shanghai Haixin Co., and three Haixin Co.'s branch companies: Haiyan Toy Co., Ltd., Haixin Toy Co., Ltd., Haili Toy Co., Ltd., among many others.
The camp's Division 3 signed a contract with the Shanghai Three Gun Co., Ltd. The detainees at this division became workers of the corporation.
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Li Ying was illegally sentenced to two years of forced labor in 2001. She was forced to make products for numerous Chinese companies while being held at Division 3, such as stuffed animal toys for export to Italy, and cotton underwear for Three Gun. In fact, the cotton underwear imprinted with the logo "Inspection No. 16" sold by Three Gun are all made by detainees at Shanghai Women's Forced Labor Camp. Ms. Li Ying was coerced to do various types of hard labor, including harvesting broad beans and pulling wild grass (for fertilizer) in the summer, making all kinds of toys, making leather shoes, purses, package dolls, sewing flowers, making decorative "eye knots," produce colored light bulbs and assembling automated Mahjong gambling machines. The detainees get up at 5 a.m. and start work before 7:00 a.m. often laboring until midnight. The detainees often have blisters on their hands from the constant heavy work. They are paid three Yuan [35 cents US] a day. Although the labor camp policy states detainees should not work past 9:00 p.m., they are usually made to work until 11 p.m. and sometimes as late as 3 a.m. the next day. The detainees toil to meet their quotas, and their fingers became swollen and ache so severely the pain wakes them up at night. Some can barely pull the needles when sewing flowers in the morning due to soreness and pain. They have to use pliers to manipulate the needles instead.
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Bo Gendi was also held at Division 3. She was assigned an extra heavy workload during the first two years because she safeguarded the belief in Truth, Compassion and Forbearance. As a result she rarely had time to sleep and sometimes she would even fall asleep while standing. In the summer she processed colored light bulbs with an electronic heating device in the room of temperature over 40 0C [104 0F]. Under such condition, the guards once did not let her shower or change her clothes for nine days. Her shirt was soaked in sweat though it was soon air-dried in the scorching heat; then it was again soaked. Her worn-out shirt became crusted with salty crystals. Late at night the guards locked her outside to "feed the mosquitoes."
Ms. Bo Gendi was given "prison food"--one liang [less than 2 ounces] of rice and a few vegetable leaves boiled in water for each meal. For a while the guards used to threaten people by saying, "Do you want to follow Bo Gendi and go on the 'prison food' diet?" This is why many people released from the labor camp are skin and bones--starvation is one of the "disciplinary actions."
The common inmates could still meet with their families and obtain things from them, but Bo Gendi was deprived of all visitation rights. She was forbidden to receive or send any mail or packages. She was paid 75 Yuan a month for living expenses, but each "meal" cost 3 Yuan. After paying for the food, she only had enough left to buy only toilet paper. Even toothpaste and soap were unattainable luxuries for her.
Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Chen Wenying, 40, was held at the former Division 4. She appealed for justice for Falun Gong in Beijing in July 2000 and was held at the Xuhui District Detention Center under criminal detention, followed by 18 months of incarceration at the Shanghai Women's Labor Camp. The guards coerced her daily to write guarantee statements. When she refused, they handcuffed her and made her stand in the corner for seven days, sometimes longer, during which someone had to feed her, and she was kept handcuffed even when she relieved herself. The camp authorities did not let her family see her for four months. She has suffered a nervous breakdown and can no longer recognize people. Although she was eventually freed, she could not lead a normal life. Her practitioner husband Guo Jinfu was sentenced to three years in prison by agents from the Xuhui District Court in Shanghai in December 2006 and was transferred to Division 1 at the Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai this year (2007). During the past year (2006-2007), his wife Chen Wenying was sent to the mental hospital five times after her nervous breakdown when she could no longer recognize people. The local 610 Office agents and government officials refused to tell the family anything about Guo Jinfu when they inquired about his condition.
Practitioner Ms. Chen Jingfang from the Jiading District was transferred from Division 5 to Division 4 because she refused to "reform." She was kind and always ready to help people. Nevertheless, camp authorities withheld her meager allowance and gave her "prison food" for two years. The regime allocates funds for the detention of Falun Gong practitioners in Shanghai, yet the camp officials embezzle the money while exploiting the practitioners' labor.
Division 2 used to produce mainly stuffed animals, but it has changed focus and added electronic products. The assembly-line workshop is on the second floor of the Qingyuan Supermarket. The detainees there process electronic components for the Wujiang Electronic Equipment Co., Ltd.
For example, the Red Triangle Stuffed Toy Factory is located in Xujing Town, Shanghai, and its website states:
"The [Red Triangle] Stuffed Toy Factory in Xujing Town, Shanghai specializes in making stuffed animals. Within ten years, we have created about 1,000 varieties [of toys] and are capable of producing 4.8 million toys annually. All of our products are exported by Shanghai Toy I/E Company, China Light Industry Toy I/E Company and Shanghai Shenhua I/E Co., Ltd. to more than 20 countries and regions including the USA, France, England, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, and Hong Kong."
"Our factory's motto is quality comes first, reputation comes first, and customers come first. We take quality control seriously and we own various test equipment and inspection tools that conform to international standards. We have also strengthened internal control within the enterprise and worked hard to lower production costs. In recent years the quality of our products has earned us positive remarks and the trust of our clients, both inside China and abroad."
Address: Third Floor, Red Triangle Building, Xujing Town, Qingpu District, Shanghai, Zip code: 201702
Phone: 86-21-59760645; Fax: 86-21-59760591, 86-21-59760643
Legal representative: Qian Jianming; Head of factory: Qian Jianming
This Red Triangle Stuffed Toy Factory has 50 labor camp detainees as its employees.
Shanghai Changfu Toy Co., Ltd.
Shanghai ICP No. 05041934
Address: No. 2791 Jizhai Road, Jiwang Town, Minhang District, Shanghai, Zip code: 201106
Phone: 011-86-21-62960236; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Shanghai Changfu Toy Co., Ltd. is a relatively large private toy company in east China. We have two branch companies: Shanghai Minhang Five Star Hat Factory and Changfu Toy Co., Ltd. in Funing County, Jiangsu Province. We make stuffed animals, shoes and various types of hats. Our products are sold by Shanghai Light Industry International Group Pudong Company and Shanghai Art & Craft I/E Company. We sell to the USA, Japan, Turkey, Europe and many other countries and regions. Our annual export revenue is 15 million US dollars."
"Currently, our company has more than 20,000 square meters [over 200,000 sq. ft.] of production work area, more than 800 sewing machines and 1,500 employees, including 30 designers."
Labor camp authorities actually double-contract the detainees efforts. Those who have been hired by one company are also forced to work for other companies so the corrupt officials can double their earnings. As a result, the detainees have to do twice as much work.
Division 2 is a "strictly controlled division" where the detainees are assigned seemingly endless work. They get up at 5:10 a.m., start working at 6 a.m. and work until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. each day. They work more than 15 hours before washing themselves and going to bed. They sleep about four hours, and sometimes they are forced to work extra hours without any break. All detainees look terribly sleep-deprived and malnourished. The detainees said they are on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted even more severely.
Group 3 of Division 2 is the worst. It's called the "back-up group," which means other divisions pass unfinished work to this group. Falun Gong practitioners and other detainees held here work day and night to meet the quota. Two persons monitor each Falun Gong practitioner to prevent the practitioner from talking to others, as they fear the practitioners would reveal the truth of the persecution. The labor camp has a strict rule, which states, "any detainee caught talking to a Falun Gong practitioner is considered to have severely violated labor camp policies and could be punished with solitary confinement." Practitioner Guan Longmei renounced Falun Gong while being held at Division 5, but she later realized guards and collaborators had deceived her, so she wrote a solemn announcement. The guards hung her in a solitary confinement cell, and gagged her with socks to prevent her from shouting. She was later transferred to Group 2 for forced labor.
Practitioner Shen Peimin was held in this labor camp between 2001 and 2003 and has since moved to Japan. She was held at Group 1, Division 2. Practitioner Zhang Ying was sentenced to two-and-a-half years of forced labor in 2001 and was held at Group 1, Division 2 for two years. She was forced to eat "prison food" because she could not meet the quota. Any Falun Gong practitioner who cannot finish the assigned workload receives only 15 Yuan [less than 2 dollars] each month, so they can only afford to buy the most basic necessities. Even instant noodles are a luxury. Endless work, constant pressure and malnutrition stopped women Falun Gong practitioners' menstrual period for one year, and they also experienced double vision.
Division 5 specializes in persecuting Falun Gong. It was moved from the Division 2's building to the Division 4's building, and later back to the fifth floor of the Division 2's building. The areas where Falun Gong practitioners are held are the only places in the labor camp that have the solitary confinement cells. Each room is equipped with surveillance camera(s). At first, Division 5 was not assigned any work, but the officials made determined practitioners work until late at night while they let "reformed" practitioners rest early, participate in activities, read books, speak freely, write letters, eat meat and vegetables, and use the restrooms. All of the "privileges" given to collaborators are impossible for determined practitioners who are handcuffed and locked in solitary confinement cells. They make collaborators take over the work practitioners cannot finish, so the collaborators begin to hate the practitioners. Practitioner Yu Peiying, 68 years old, was sentenced to two years of forced labor and was the oldest detainee at the labor camp. She was forced to first stand and then sit for long periods of time until the flesh on her buttocks became ulcerated. She was also made to work.
Labor camp officials tell visitors that "labor camps in Shanghai emphasize education; work is only used to supplement education." Political education sessions are indeed conducted at night, but is it really education? Detainees are forced to work where there are no cameras, and if they fail to meet the quota, they are punished with heavy manual labor, such as loading and unloading heavy packages and having to run laps.
The Communist Party has never changed its evil nature; it has only changed its tactics in order to deceive people more effectively.
Group heads at the labor camp say to the detainees when the detainees disobey them, "Well, nobody asked you to come here!" They imply that people who are sent to labor camps are automatically deprived of all rights, including the freedom to choose what they think, say and do.