China "SHOWS" Reporters Forbidden Camp
The world is being deceived again.
I still remember the gunshots in Tiananmen Square on the evening of June 3rd, 1989. I still remember the grisly scenes as students were killed.
Even worse on a personal level was that I had to deny my presence in Tiananmen Square to the branch secretary of the XX Party in my department when I returned to my college. I still remembered the fear as I ran around telling my classmates not to disclose this information to him. I could be kicked out of the school or sent to jail if I openly talked about the scenes I had personally witnessed. This was because the Chinese regime claimed that no students had been killed on June 4, 1989. In my parents' words, "You will have no future if the officers find out."
Since then, I hardly ever watch Chinese Central TV (CCTV) or read the news from Xinhua News Agency anymore. I know that little truth can be found there if a brutal crackdown can actually be praised as a "victory over rebellion" and no one is allowed to say anything against the party line in public.
I still remember the young Falun Gong practitioner I met in Beijing when I went back China in April of last year. He was very thin, just having been released after several weeks in a detention center in Beijing. He had gone through several rounds of electrocution "treatments." He was from Fujian Province, my hometown.
I still remember the lady from the city of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province who went on hunger strike for nearly a month and was tortured severely. I still remember the practitioner in Ruichang, Jiangxi Province, whose wife was sent to labor camp because she did not give up the practice of Falun Gong. He was denied the right to visit her. He told me that he would have gone to Beijing to appeal as well, if it were not for their two little girls.
When my wife and I were detained in China in October last year simply because we had Falun Gong materials, we witnessed and showed once more the limits placed on the freedoms of the Chinese people.
The police told us about their efforts to "educate" practitioners who had appealed to the central government. Yet, last year, the Chinese XX regime claimed that no Falun Gong practitioners had been detained and tortured in labor camps. They also claim that no one has been persecuted to death, while human rights organizations have documented over 200 cases of death due to police brutality.
This past week, the Chinese authorities "showed" the notorious Masanjia labor camp to foreign journalists. According to an AP report, "Reporters were accompanied by officials throughout the visit and were told they could not talk to inmates playing basketball or in two classrooms receiving lessons on mental health and Chinese laws." In addition, Xinhua News said in February that over 1,000 female Falun Gong practitioners were kept in this camp, yet this time the officer in the camp claimed only "483 female practitioners are in the camp, although reporters saw only about a third that number."
How to explain the difference in the number? When ordinary citizens outside the camp still need a lot of courage to say something different from the party line, which inmate would dare to say a word that is not in the script, when they are "arranged" for interview?
If this labor camp is indeed always so clean, I wondered why the Chinese regime did not open it for public scrutiny during the UN Human Rights Commission in March and April of this year, when they would need such a nice presentation. In fact, from the reports of many international human rights organizations, this camp was the place "where guards shock female Falun Gong followers with electric batons and toss them naked into cells with male prisoners." It was called "a living hell." It probably just took lots of time to clean off the blood on the walls and let the new paint dry.
If the police can publicly beat up Falun Gong practitioners in Tiananmen Square, as witnessed and recorded by many people, there is no reason to believe that there is no beating or torture in a labor camp. Please remember: a labor camp is a place where the regime can lock people up for three years without any legal procedure. I guess that the mental health or Chinese law being taught there is how to accept this persecution -- how to do 12-16 hours of hard labor every day and then still maintain a good attitude and the energy to play basketball and praise the legal system.
The tour that the journalists were given follows in a long history of lies and deceit. The regime denied the killing in the Cultural Revolution, the killing in Tiananmen Square, and now the killing of Falun Gong practitioners. They even want to deny the existence of torture in the Masanjia Labor Reeducation Camp.
To put this tour in perspective, the Nazi government of World War II-era Germany also staged similar tours of concentration camps. This was the government that hosted the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Now, China, too, is stopping at nothing to win the 2008 Olympics in a desperate bid for international legitimacy. But should a nation's legitimacy really be earned through whitewashing reality and painting the dead grass green when the IOC (International Olympic Committee) comes to visit?
China's glorious history and rich traditional culture are not the achievements of the Communist regime. The panda and the Great Wall belong to the great land of China and the Chinese people, not to brutal tyrants.
The title of the AP report said it very clearly -- China "SHOWS" reporters forbidden camp -- because right now what Jiang Zemin is showing the world can only be seen as an elaborate farce.
Category: Opinion & Perspective