Dear Mr. xxx

I felt very sad after reading your story, "China Shows Reporters Forbidden Camp," in the newspaper on May 23, because it is quite possible that even more innocent people will be tortured and killed as a result of this article's widespread publication in the Western press. My own experience as a Falun Gong practitioner in a detention center tells me that the Chinese government staged the "media tour" of the Masanjia labor camp in order to deceive the world.

In November 1999, I went back to China during my vacation. While I was at a friend's apartment in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, chatting with a few Falun Gong practitioners, the police broke in and arrested all of us without any legal documents. I was detained for fifteen days, first in the Tianhe detention center, and then in the Yuexiu detention center, simply because I was a Falun Gong practitioner. At the Tianhe detention center, I started a hunger strike to protest my illegal detention and to get back my freedom. The guards pressed me on the ground and put shackles on my feet. They then inserted a large tube full of highly concentrated salt water into my mouth, and held my nose tight so that I couldn't breathe until they forced all the salty fluid into my stomach. I almost suffocated to death during this procedure, and my stomach hurt so much that I vomited for a long time afterwards.

I was forced to work in the cell making plastic flowers from morning until evening without resting. Long hours of labor are enforced at every detention center.

The living conditions were terrible. They served us rotten rice and vegetables that smelled so bad we could hardly swallow them. The cell was very dirty, with many rats, which sometimes jumped on our bodies. In addition, the strong December winds blew right through the broken windows. I only had a skirt to cover my legs and I was not allowed to get more clothes. Inmates were not allowed to keep anything except for a bowl and a cup for food and water. I was not allowed to take my hairbrush in so everyday I had to use my fingers to comb my hair. Every morning two persons from each cell could step out and get some water for everyone to drink. When it was in my turn, that was the only time that I could go out and see the sky for a few minutes.

The Chinese Communist government has a long history of covering up any bad thing they don't want the world to see. They insist that no one was executed for politically incorrect beliefs during the Cultural Revolution, and that no students were killed at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Now they say that no Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured at the Masanjia Labor Camp. If a government is willing to paint the grass green to impress and deceive the International Olympic Committee, would it not also be likely to whitewash what it is doing to Falun Gong practitioners in its labor camps?

The Nazi government of World War II-era Germany staged show tours of concentration camps in order to deflect growing scrutiny. That same government hosted the 1936 Olympic Games to bend world opinion its way. Now, just a few decades later, we see Jiang Zemin's government putting on a similar show in his labor camps. Meanwhile, China will stop at nothing to win the 2008 Olympics bid, because Jiang Zemin believes that the Games would, like an effective show tour of the camps, lend his brutal regime the legitimacy it seeks. We should know better by now.

Respected human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of torture and abuse at labor camps and detention centers throughout China, and this information is readily available to all people who sincerely want to know the truth.