Letter to International Human Rights Organizations and the World Trade Organization About The Blood and Tears behind the Cheap Products Made in China
To whom it may Concern in international human rights organizations, the World Trade Organization, their Member Countries and Industrial Leaders
Dear Sir or Madam,
From July 20th 1999, a group of misguided individuals inside the Chinese regime, led by Jiang Zemin, have misused the resources of China to wage a most severe persecution. They have conducted this human rights atrocity on millions of Falun Gong practitioners, people who practice Falun Gong believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance and strive to become better people and improve their character. However, Jiang Zemin and his followers have usurped a huge proportion of China's financial resources to sustain this persecution. These resources include the revenue from the foreign trade of products created by or enhanced through the blood, sweat and tears of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned in labor camps, detention centers and other similar places in China.
If some of us had not returned from these places and had not personally suffered from this persecution, we would not have known what was taking place, just as we suspect that you are not aware. Now we want to tell you what has been hidden from the world and even the Chinese people themselves. You will learn the reason why products made in China are so cheap and what part of the current status of human rights in China is. You will begin to know what severe torture Falun Gong practitioners in China have suffered over the last several years.
I. Many Products Are Made with Forced Labor from Labor Camps and Prisons in China
Third parties send the raw material to the appointed forced labor camp . In the Sanshui Forced Labor Camps in Guangdong province, for example, the products made by those imprisoned are mainly from Dongwan. Factories in Nanhai and other provinces and cities commission forced labor camps and prisons to produce the products. Some of the major types of products made by the forced labor camps and prisons include lighter parts, clocks and watches, artificial flowers, shoes, clothing, mechanical and electronic devices, jewelry and necklaces. There are many others.
II. The Secret of the Low Cost of Products Made in China
1. Labor in forced labor camps and prisons is free
The prisoners in forced labor camps, prisons and detention centers are forced to work to produce products without any pay. The forced labor camps are nothing more than factories which enjoy virtually no labor costs beyond keeping the laborers alive. Once people enter these places they do nothing but work. They typically have to work from 5:30 AM to 11:00 PM except for eating substandard food not fit for human consumption. A forced labor camp is a huge factory that enslaves workers who have no freedom, no rights and no social benefits. Workers are punished if they don't complete quotas.
2. No wages to pay, no employee benefits to pay
Many factories only hire a few regular workers, which serve for the purpose of maintaining legitimate business status, and they let the labor camps and/or prisons to actually produce the products. Sending the orders with sample products, requirements, specifications and raw materials to forced labor camps and/or prisons can save time in production and payroll cost. This allows an unfair advantage over the rest of the world's industry.
3. Evading taxes to lower production costs
According to the regulations of the Chinese government, people outside of the forced labor camps and prisons are strictly forbidden from entering the living areas of the prisoners. You must go through 4 or 5 strictly guarded iron doors to enter the living areas. Every door is guarded by policeman and prisoners on duty 24 hours a day. The prisoners on duty fulfill the task as best as they can in hopes of getting out of the hell-like place sooner. If some prisoners flee, the prisoners on duty will be beaten heavily and their term of imprisonment may be extended at will. The prisoners who go in and out of the living areas must wear ID cards with name, age, home town and province, reason for imprisonment, prison name, unit and subdivision listed. People from outside absolutely cannot enter these strictly guarded places unless they get permission from the administrators and are escorted by policeman.
Therefore, with this privilege, the forced labor camps and other similar places get together with factories to avoid paying taxes. To avoid production output checks and taxes, the forced labor camps will move the finished products into the living areas of the prisoners to evade the tax and maximize their profits. We saw with our own eyes in Sanshui Forced Labor Camps and Sanshui Women's Forced Labor Camps that when the tax officers come to check up on the camp, our dorm became the warehouse, piled up with finished product. It is really difficult for the outside world to investigate the real situation inside forced labor camps because of the crafty methods used by the Communist Party to deceive the Chinese people and the rest of the world. For example, if you want to investigate the life of prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners in forced labor camps, the administrators in forced labor camps will improve and decorate everything in a select few forced labor camps very well when people outside come to investigate. When investigators' groups visit, they will prepare good food for the practitioners and prisoners and arrange for a few people who are willing to lie for the camps to be interviewed by the investigators. This is the reason that the reality of forced labor camps and prisons has not been exposed to the rest of the world and why investigators say the conditions in the forced labor camps are good. Once the investigators' groups leave the forced labor camps, everything returns to the way it was before the investigators arrived. If you want to investigate the real situation in forced labor camps, please ask Falun Gong practitioners who are brave enough to tell the truth and contact Clearwisdom.net.
III. Human Rights Conditions of Falun Gong Practitioners and Other Detainees in Chinese Labor Camps
Falun Gong practitioners detained in Chinese labor camps are savagely tortured with various inhumane means. Some guards administer the tortures themselves, some order inmates to carry it out. They use all kinds of torture tools to beat the practitioners. From the confirmed facts we have, representative of less than a small percentage of the total number of cases, these guards commit the following acts:
They use electric batons; force the practitioners to stand for a long time; use the "Tiger Bench" [Practitioners are forced to sit on a small iron bench that is approximately 20 cm (6 inches) tall with their knees tied together. With their hands tied behind their backs or sometimes placed on their knees, they are forced to sit straight up and look straight ahead. They are not allowed to turn their heads, close their eyes, talk to anyone or move at all. Several inmates are assigned to watch over the practitioners and force them to remain motionless while sitting on the bench. Usually some hard objects are inserted underneath the practitioners' lower legs or ankles to make it harder for them to tolerate this abuse (see illustration on <http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2001/11/24/16156.html]; they brand the practitioners' bodies with red-hot irons; pour boiling water on the practitioner's back, then scrub the wounds with a toothbrush, followed by smearing salt into the wound.
They force the practitioners to kneel, handcuff them, burn their bodies with fire, burn their muscles and private parts with cigarettes; release guard dogs, snakes and scorpions to bite the practitioners; force the practitioners to stand on a red-hot iron rod; use bacteria punishment, poison gas punishment, hanging-up punishment; force-feed with hot pepper water and human waste; stuff used women's sanitary napkins and filthy cleaning rags into the practitioners' mouths; rape the women; inject them with nerve-destroying drugs; subject them to sleep deprivation for over 20 days at a time; electrically shock the female practitioners' vagina, mouth and anus; tie four toothbrushes together with brushes facing out and insert them into female practitioners' vagina, and turn and rub toothbrushes in the vagina; throw the practitioners into water dungeons; "five horses split the body" (forcefully pull the practitioner's body into five different directions; freezing punishment (shower the practitioner with cold water in the winter, strip them naked and force them to walk barefoot in the snow); in the summer they force the practitioners to stand under the scorching sun; whip them with various leather whips (including the whip with steel wire clubs covered in rubber); they insert bamboo slivers under practitioners' fingernails; force them to do long-term slave labor, and other tormenting abuses that have never been used in the history.
The mistreatment we witnessed at the Sanshui Labor Camp in Guangdong Province include the following:
1. Persecution during daily life activities
Poor quality of food: the rice given was mostly rotten and the porridge made from this kind of rice was yellow and sour. The practitioners are given only half a bowl of rice porridge (the bowl is only about 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep) in the morning, lunch and dinner were given about 5 ounces of rice each meal, which is barely enough to survive. The vegetables consist only of winter melon and old, fibrous radish, rotten onions and dirty yellow-leafed old vegetables. A tiny bit of palm oil is put into the boiled vegetables for several hundred people, and hardly enough salt to meet bodily needs.
Water rationing: Four or five hundred people share a mere dozen water faucets that are open available for about one hour daily. It is difficult' to take a good shower, even in the heat of summer. Inmates often fight for faucets to take a shower. The hygiene conditions are terrible, and the bed covers are so dirty one's clean hands become soiled after touching them. Some practitioners didn't get to take a shower for three months in a row. Hundreds of large lice danced on their bodies, aside from the countless, invisible small lice that hide in their clothes. The lice bit them so badly their whole bodies were infected and not a single patch of intact skin can be found on them.
2. Slave labor
Practitioners are forced to work from 13 to 17 hours daily at the labor camp, forced to finish daily quotas. In order to increase profit, the guards force the detainees to do the most work each day possible. Because of the overwhelming workload, most people could not meet the quota. The guards check the work situation daily themselves or appoint inmates who are about to be released, or inmates who bribe the guards, to do so for them.
The inspector's daily routine is to write down the amount of work each detainee has finished. The guards check the situation daily. The guards would torture the practitioners who didn't meet the work quota. The tortures include:
(1) Shocking with electric batons for a long time;
(2) Beating and kicking;
(3) Whipping the detainee's back with a steel wire whip covered by rubber (they are as thick as one's finger, two whips are put together), after which a liver-colored scar immediately appears on the back;
(4) Force the detainees to stand on the concrete against the wall under the sun in the heat of summer;
(5) A 40-kilogram weight (about 83 lbs) was put on the back of the detainee in a push-up position. If the detainee's body touches the ground the guard would whip him.
(6) In the winter, the inspectors checked the job status around 10 p.m., and the guard would force practitioners who didn't meet the quota to run on the drilling ground wearing only underpants. After his body warmed up, the guard forced him to take a cold shower, then go back and run. After he warmed up again, the guard again forced him to take a cold shower. This routine is repeated until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. The practitioners got up at 5:30 a.m. to start working, and if anyone fell asleep during work at noon, the guards or inspectors would whip them or kick their chests or backs. All detainees are drowning in fear all day long.
In order to decrease the chance of getting beaten up, many inmates bribe the guards with brand-name cigarettes, drinks, cash or grocery coupons used at the labor camp, or they tell their families to deposit money directly into a bank account in the guard's name. A guard named Yang told others that he is a guard while wearing a uniform, and a thug when he takes it off. He beats people in such a vicious manner that all inmates become dead quiet the second he enters the workshop, so quiet I could hear people breathing. The inmates call him "Number one killer." They say if you bribe him 1,000 Yuan, it'll only give you one month of peace and you'll be beaten again the next month if you stop giving him money.
3. Physical and mental persecution
Falun Gong practitioners would suffer from cruel mental persecution on top of the miserable life and slave labor that any other criminal inmate suffers. The police guards try to force them to give up their belief in Falun Dafa. After returning to their cells they are not allowed to rest but are forced to read articles that slander Falun Gong or write a so-called "Guarantee Statement" (A statement to declare that he or she is remorseful for practicing Falun Gong and guarantees not to practice Falun Gong again, not to go to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong, and never again associate with any Falun Dafa practitioners.)
If the practitioners refuse to write the statement they are tortured with all kinds of torture tools and methods. As a result, many Falun Dafa practitioners are crippled and many others are tortured to death. However, the forced labor camps would then claim the dead practitioners committed suicide or died of illness.
Take for example fifty-year old Falun Dafa practitioner Mr. Lai Zhijun from Dongguan City, Guangdong Province who was sentenced to forced labor and was tortured at the Sanshui Forced Labor Camp. The police guards at the camp forced him to march at the double on the drill grounds as a punishment for refusing to give up his cultivation of Falun Dafa. Mr. Lai went on a hunger strike to protest against the persecution. However, the police guards, knowing Mr. Lai was very weak, still used high voltage electric batons to shock him. Mr. Lai Zhijun died of this abuse.
The Sanshui Forced Labor Camp collaborated with a legal medical expert and provided a fake death certificate to cheat his family and the public as a whole. The Foshan City Procuratorate sent people to the Sanshui Forced Labor Camp to spread rumours about the cause of Mr. Lai's death.
The most vicious police guard at the Sanshui Forced Labor Camp, Zhang Shengmei, threatened to extend the terms of forced labor for any Falun Gong practitioner that exposed the true cause of Mr. Lai's death. (Clearwisdom Net has published a detailed report on Sanshui Forced Labor Camp, which had set up an execution ground to persecute Falun Gong practitioners Huang Zhufeng, Lin Fengchi, Xia Xianqiang, Li Yuandong and others, so it will not be repeated here.)
In many forced labor camps in China, when Falun Gong practitioners are tortured to death they do not let the families pay their last respects to the dead, but directly cremate them. They are carrying out the savage policies formulated by Jiang that "the death of Falun Gong practitioners from beating is nothing and shall be counted as suicide; the body shall be directly cremated without investigating the person's identification."
In order to cover up the true situation of their persecution, whenever the leaders from above, or other organizations visit a labor camp to learn the situation of Falun Gong practitioners, the forced labor camps lock up practitioners who persist in speaking the truth in places no outsiders have access to and then have those who do not dare speak the truth tell the visitors what the police want them to say. As a result what the visitors learn are nothing but lies to deceive the public.
4. Other basic human rights of Falun Gong practitioners are deprived
As long as the practitioners do not give up their practice of Falun Gong, they will be deprived of the right to be visited by their families as well as the right of communication.
IV. The Function of the Chinese Forced Labor Camps
The functions of the forced labor camps stipulated by China's Ministry of Justice is that forced labor camps should be used to "educate through labor" those citizens who have committed minor crimes, and correct bad behavior (stealing, robbery, using drugs, gambling, prostitution and visiting prostitutes) to foster good habits and high moral standards. Have these forced labor camps reached this goal? No, they have not played that role at all. What on earth do these camps do then? Actually they have not educated a large number of bad citizens and played a stabilizing role in society as the Chinese government media have claimed. They only play the following functions:
1. They own factories with special privileges.
Since the leaders at all levels in the forced labor camp system put their emphasis on economic benefits and seek even greater profits, and since the factories owned by the forced labor camps enjoy the privilege that no one is allowed to enter the living area of the inmates, the camps are able to evade taxes, force the inmates to work like slaves and the police can arbitrarily keep the wages down and use all kinds of methods to punish inmates both physically and mentally.
2. The forced labor camp system is a hotbed of corruption and one of the largest types of organized crime
The living conditions inside the forced labor camps are extremely bad, the food is just like fodder used outside the camp and it is very difficult to take a shower or wash up. On top of the adverse environment, anyone who cannot fulfill his or her production quota will be punished. To avoid the pain caused by the persecution, wealthy inmates who are undergoing forced labor would bribe the police with goods such as brand name cigarettes, beverages, coupons used to purchase goods inside the forced labor camps or ask their families to transfer cash into a bank account designated by the police, or invite the police to have mid-night snacks. These inmates who have bribed the police are known as "smart guys". With the support of the police these inmates can wantonly beat other inmates. Then the not so wealthy inmates would bribe the "smart guys" with small articles or small amounts of money (one or two packs of average cigarettes, small denomination coupons or buy them extra food). In the forced labor camp there are about seventy people in each sub-division. The head of the sub-division (This kind of position is normally held by the so-called "smart guys".) can receive quite a sum of cash and goods every year. After receiving the goods or money, the smart guys bribe the police, team leaders, division chiefs and the Party secretaries in order to reduce their terms in the forced labor camps. Those who do not bribe the smart guys are assigned to do most difficult jobs. Whoever does not fulfill his or her quota would be beaten up or suffer from various forms of punishment and persecution. However, those who have bribed the monitors would be exempt from beatings. Therefore, quite a number of criminals become rich while doing their years in jail. To step up its control the forced labor camps would be stricter towards those who do not fulfill their quota. The labor camps would force these people to wear specially made red clothes and red nametags. They would be the last to have their meals. Usually the people who are under stricter control are those who have no money to bribe the wealthy inmates.
There are two cushy jobs in the forced labor camp; one is the canteen where you can have enough to eat, can drink boiled water, enjoy the convenience in taking showers and do not need to worry about production quotas, therefore there is no punishment. However, it is not easy to get into the canteen. You need people to recommend you and the recommendation would usually cost a few thousand yuan (It depends on the length of the terms in the forced labor camp). Another cushy job would be the members of the so-called democratic administrative committee of the forced labor camp. They include the director of the committee, gatekeepers, monitors and storemen. They also need to bribe the police.
When relatives or families come to visit, if they do not buy cigarettes or fruit to bribe the police or the monitors, the inmate would be beaten up that day or a few days later. In the forced labor camp only when you are seriously ill would the police send you to hospital. If you only have slight illnesses and want to see the doctor you get a tongue-lashing and a good beating from the police. To avoid being tortured, at the time when work quotas are checked, those who have not finished their quota borrow products from those tho work really fast or exchange products for goods such as instant noodles. A lot of inmates who were on their last gasp as a result of a beating would be released on bail for medical treatment. The majority of them would die shortly after their release. If they die outside the forced labor camp it will not be counted as a death in the camp.
3. Forced labor camps are slave markets
When the Public Security Bureau sends a person to a forced labor camp, the forced labor camp will give the Public Security Bureau a commission of 1,500 Yuan (Chinese currency, the monthly salary for an average Chinese urban worker is about 500 yuan.) In other words, this is the price that a forced labor camp pays for a young man as a slave who is forced to perform hard labor for free. The Public Security Bureau in an undisclosed city in China gives all the police stations a quota of slaves needed each year in order to secure their commission from the slave trade. In the event that the quota is not met, public security officers abduct law-abiding residents and torture them until they confess to crimes they did not commit so that they could sell them to the forced labor camps.
While I was detained in the forced labor camp, I talked to two such inmates. One of them came from Sichuan Province. He said that he did not commit any crime. He came to Guangdong Province in order to find a job. Soon after he exited the train station, public security officers arrested him and accused him of theft. Because he did not commit any theft, he refused to admit the false charge. Then he was subject to brutal beatings. Finally he succumbed to the torture and interrogation, so he had to admit a crime that he didn't commit. He was then sentenced to three years in the forced labor camp [and sold to the forced labor camp for three years.] He said to me, "I was not a thief before I was thrown to this place, but I will steal after I leave this place! I shall seek revenge by stealing and make up for the three years in prison. Otherwise I could never get over this!" The other inmate came from my hometown. He was a motorcycle taxi driver. He appears to be a kind and honest man. One day the police suddenly arrested him, accused him of theft and sentenced him to one and a half years in prison. He claimed innocence but was subject to brutal beatings in the forced labor camp. It was only after he asked his family to bribe the police that the beatings were reduced. He said to me looking defeated, "What else can you do?" These are but two of countless slaves traded between China's Public Security Bureau and the Forced Labor Camp.
4. Forced labor camps teach criminal skills
While I was incarcerated in the forced labor camp, I asked a lot of inmates that had committed crimes of theft whether they would resume their career in crime. Almost everyone replied, "Of course. How else would we make ends meet? Besides, the corrupt government officials are the real thieves and bandits!" Only one man told me, "Having suffered so much here, I have decided to become a farmer and lead a peaceful life!" All other inmates exchanged their experiences in crime whenever they got a chance.
Because of the "intensive crime training" in the forced labor camps, the inmates will learn how to be more discrete when committing crimes and how to conceal their crimes. They will also have opportunities to form larg underground groups. This is the result of the so-called "re-education" in the forced labor camp.
On the other hand, Falun Dafa has the power to improve its practitioners' morality and thus restore the morality of the society. Falun Dafa requires its practitioners to conduct themselves with the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, and to keep upgrading their morality through cultivation practice. Falun Dafa has the power to help smokers, alcoholics, gamblers, drug addicts, thieves and bandits quit their additions and crimes and become people of high morality. But the Chinese government bans Falun Dafa! It even persecutes and murders Falun Dafa practitioners, a group who have become people of high morality, people that refuse to tell lies under every circumstance. The Chinese government has persecuted so many kind people to death, yet turns around and claims that this is China's best period of human rights.
5. Forced labor camps sell defective products to those imprisoned there
[I can speak from my experiences that] the bottom of a pair of sneakers sold at the forced labor camp for 18 yuan would be worn out in a week. The sandals sold at the price of 6 to 8 yuan would be worn out in three days; and a bar of soap would be gone after washing only a set of underwear and a single outfit. If you leave a bar of soap unused for a short period of time, it would shrink to half of its original size. (I have kept a bar of soap purchased from the forced labor camp as an evidence of the forced labor camp selling defective products to the inmates). It is evidence that these are underground products because there are no product labels bearing the names of the manufacturers, their company addresses, production permit identification numbers, or telephone numbers. The prices of these defective products are two to five times of those of similar products outside the forced labor camps. The camp serves unsalted food to force the inmates to purchase dried vegetables preserved with salt.
V. Our Appeal
As of April 4, 2004, more than 927 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death in China. However, according to the government's official internal statistics, the actual number of practitioners who died after being arrested had reached 1,600 by the end of 2001. In addition, there are at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners who have been illegally sentenced to prison. Over 100,000 practitioners have been sentenced to forced labor camps. Thousands of practitioners have been forcefully sent to psychiatric hospitals to be tortured with injections that are damaging to the central nervous system. Large groups of Falun Gong practitioners have been forcefully sent to local brainwashing classes, where they have been subjected to both physical and mental torture.
In this long-lasting persecution, Jiang's regime has used a quarter of the nation's financial resources to build labor camps and brainwashing centers, purchase monitoring devices and transportation and communication equipment, block internet communication, and reward lawless people who persecute Falun Gong practitioners. Moreover, it has extended the persecution to various places around the world, and used economic interests as bait to intimidate many governments to keep silent the persecution of Falun Gong, further aggravating the persecution.
There are over 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners who are still forced to work 13-17 hours a day in Chinese prisons and labor camps. They are living a terrible life. The products made by the labor camps and prisons are stained with practitioners' blood and tears, sometimes even their lives.
While harming the Chinese people's interests, Jiang's regime is also destroying the moral value and conscience that human beings have been relying on. As a business person, when you boycott the products made by Chinese prisons and labor camps, you are also helping Falun Gong practitioners. As a business person, you should know how your investment in China is being utilized by Jiang's regime.
We call upon kindhearted business people, various organizations and governments around the world to extend your helping hand and stop this inhumane persecution.
Written on February 11, 2004
Additional materials added on March 21, 2004