Exposing the Gross Abuse of Women Falun Gong Practitioners at the Guangxi Province Women's Forced Labor Camp, Part 3 (Photos)
3. Slave labor
Guangxi Women's Forced Labor Camp uses inmates for slave labor. To maximize productivity, they tie slave labor performance to the possibility of early release from the forced labor camp. Those who work fast and meet the quota may receive points toward an early release. Those who work slow and cannot meet the quotas will have points deducted and their terms extended. It is not unusual to see inmates working with intravenous feeding lines on their arms. The guards make them work as long as they can move their feet or hands. Human lives do not mean anything there. Some people get very sick or are worked to death, and some commit suicide. Because of the bonus point system, the promise of an early release and the fear of punishment, many inmates drive themselves very hard at the expense of their own health. In the No.1 Group, several inmates suffered bladder and urinary tract stones because they do not urinate or defecate to earn extra points.
Most inmates in the groups are drug addicts and prostitutes. Most of them have been in and out of forced labor camps, but have not changed for the better. They have been made into obedient slave laborers and vicious human beings. Because of conflicts of interest, fighting and obscene language are common occurrences in the workshops, dormitories, washroom, and other places. Even during quiet time, nothing is accomplished without a fight. With personal survival at stake, the demon nature in human beings manifests. Such an environment makes the inmates inhuman, and they commit countless evil deeds. They become greedy, jealous, and gossipy, and yet in front of the guards, they are submissive and complimentary. To win bonus points, some of the inmates will do anything to torture practitioners. Some work as spies for the guards, making life much more difficult for practitioners.
There is a system called "Five Compliances," which is tied to the benefits and rewards. If one has not broken the five compliance over the course of a year, one may receive some bonus points, called safety points, at the end of the year. However, Falun Gong practitioners cannot get these points, and if one practitioner breaks a rule, all practitioners suffer.
The five compliances include, no escape attempt, no suicide attempt, no self-inflicted injuries, no major safety accidents, and so on. They have these rules, since because of the nearly-unbearable pressure many inmates (non-practitioners) have accidents. After someone jumped out of the building to commit suicide, the authorities put an iron rail in the hallway, from the floor to the roof. Then, people jumped down the stairs. So they built rails up to the roof, along the stairs. Then people tried to commit suicide by swallowing iron items. As a result, scissors are required to be returned to quality control at the end of the day. Once, two drug addicts from the No.2 Group had a conflict and one was badly injured, but the aggressor was released home secretly. Somehow he had passed the yearly five compliance tests. The incident was covered up.
Everyone is being overworked and is on a tight daily schedule. Inmates suffer from sleep deprivation. Everyone feels the pressure and no one knows when they can go to bed on any given day. Often inmates work close to 20 hours non-stop. Some get only three hours of sleep. Some have to work overnight or non-stop for several days and nights to meet a deadline. It's rare that one can have a nap at noon. One gets off from work for eating, going to the bathroom and to take a shower. But, everyone is given only limited time for any of these functions.
They call work, "getting on the machine" and finishing work "getting off the machine." A monetary value is put on every order. For example, the processing cost for a shirt is 30 yuan. But, on paper the inmates get only 15 yuan. No true money changes hands. However, if one makes a mistake, one has to pay for the damage. At the labor camp, you have to pay for all daily necessities, even for the tools. For example, it costs one yuan to buy a needle and five yuan to buy a pair of collapsible scissors. Those who do not have money have to earn it as labor for other inmates, such as carrying things for others, washing others' clothes and dishes, and so on, to get money to buy daily necessities. Every inmate is given a quota each month. If one fails to meet the quota, one will be punished. Punishment includes extended terms, humiliation, running around a field, and sleep and shower deprivation. But the quota is so high that it cannot be met. If it is met, the quota will be higher the next month.
The slave labor is mainly manual labor, including:
1. Crocheting shoes, headscarves, and hair bands.
2. Needlework, which could be embroidery on leather shoes, sewing beads, sewing sparkling pieces onto clothing, embroidering wedding gowns, stringing beads to make necklaces, and embroidering jeans. One of the more difficult tasks is making "pineapple shirts," without damaging the cloth. A thread is used to tie up the bulge, which has to be concise and even. The end product is slightly bigger than a palm and then the manufacturer will do the finishing. It's very difficult to make, even if one takes great care.
3. Assembling colored lights, which has several steps, including pulling the main wire, installing the plug and stringing the bulbs. These tasks are hard on the hands and often injure the hands. It is physically taxing to pull the wire and put in even a single plug. Although stringing bulbs looks simple, one has to meet a large quota of 5,000 to 10,000 completed pieces per day.
4. Weaving waistbands, making baskets, sorting beans and scraping books. One of the waistband tasks is very filthy. One will be covered in dust. Once, Ms. Tan Zezhen was spotted washing her hands and she got water on her clothes. The guards scolded her for this and deducted points.
Many manufacturers and businesses send their technical staff to the forced labor camp to supervise. Many products such as assembled lights are for export. Many detention centers and prisons in the Guanxi Zhuang Ethnicity Autonomous Region have long-term contracts. Even men shiver at the thought of being assigned to assemble colored lights.
Manual labor is hard on the hands, eyes and attention span. After a short while, one's fingers will hurt or swell. Many people suffer injuries to their hands. Fingers may become deformed and/or blistered. Many inmates have band-aids around their fingers at all times. As the lighting is very poor, many people are losing their eyesight. A young practitioner from Baise City, Liang Yanhong, had her eyesight damaged as a result of slave labor and could no longer do embroidery work. Therefore, she was put in charge of embroidery frames. Ms Yu Ping from Luwu Township, Lingshan County, Yinzhou City, had become blind by the time she was released from the labor camp in 2005. Some people's hair turned gray. To make more profit, the forced labor camp accepts contracts that require a lot of work. They accept work that requires quick turnover and exceptional skill. As soon as one learns one craft, one has to learn another. Normally one has to work over 10 hours. Sometimes, one has to work overtime until midnight, or through the night, with no break on the weekends. All statutory holidays are used to catch up on work. Due to extreme fatigue, you will see inmates fall asleep on the tables, benches and floors, even during 5-minute or 10-minute breaks.
Each day, they do roll call 7-8 times. One has to assemble twice on the field, once in the morning and once in the evening. Even if one is sick one has to participate. Even on weekends one cannot escape from that. One generally has to assemble outside unless it is raining very hard. Then, one assembles in the workshop or in the dorm. Inmates sit on a small bench, and when their name is called, they stand up and answer the call. It takes a while for them to go through several hundred people like this. Some people fall asleep, which is not allowed. Some use the time to catch up on work so that they can meet their quota. To make more money, the labor camp increases the quota at will. In this situation, one has to work even on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Some time they change the place for roll call to the workshop so practitioners can continue to work.
As a result of the slave labor, inmates are extremely fatigued and stressed out. Along with the horrible living and working conditions, every second is unbearable. All firm practitioners have been assigned to different groups. They have a difficult situation, as they get extra work, which cannot be completed, even though they do not eat, or sleep. The police said, "You guys are extraordinary, so you have to do extraordinary work." If the practitioners are perceived to be working too slowly, guards will swear at them. If they cannot complete the work, they are not allowed to shower or sleep. Points are taken away and terms extended, or they are forced to stand in the baking sun or pouring rain to "reflect." Once, the team leader scolded one of the practitioners who fell asleep on the table due to sleep deprivation. Another practitioner Mou Linmao refused to do hard labor; therefore, the guards distributed her quota to all the other people in the team to incite anger towards practitioners.
Practitioners who were in the No.3 Group before the reassignments were brainwashed and forced to do slave labor at the same time. Every practitioner has a quota. One practitioner from Wuhan City was very sick and had serious heart problems, but the labor camp refused to release her until much later. A few other senior practitioners were also very sick, however, they were forced to work every day. They were released only after a long time. Two teenage practitioners, Zhong Yanjun and Long Yunzhi, were also forced to work over time and/or overnight.
The following are some examples of slave labour:
Making Christmas trees
Time: No.1 Group began at the end of August, 2000, and it lasted 6-8 weeks
1. Take a dozen plastic sticks and bundle them with tape. Then attach plastic leaves to make the branches.
2. Bundle pine tree branches with tape over and over again to make a pine tree. Starting from the top of the tree more branches are needed as one progresses toward the bottom. The lengths of the branches are different for different layers and one has to be accurate. The branches at the same level have to line up. The trunk has to be solid when done. Quality control staff will shake the trunk and make sure that it does not change shape. Otherwise, it does not meet the requirement. After assembly, they plug it in to make sure the plastic lights up as it should.
When we started making Christmas trees, inmates were not allowed to take a nap at noon. They get up at 5:40 a.m. After washing up, roll call and breakfast, they were at the workshop until 2 a.m. in the morning. After a period of time, they conceded that those who could complete 30 trees could take a nap at noon. Once, a guard named Yao arbitrarily announced that if her requirements were not met, inmates could not take a shower. It was very hot and humid, and there were no windows in the workshop, except a few electric fans. The workshop was full of people. Inmates work for over 10 hours inside that room. Other than eating meals, showering and going to the washroom, there is no other break. Everyone was sweating, with shirts sticking to his or her back. They had to wait until 2 a.m. in the morning to wash their faces and yet, because they did not meet Yao's requirement, no one was allowed to shower. Incidentally, they had to empty buckets of water down the drain. One of them tried to wet her towel to wipe her face and body, but was spotted by the guards, scolded and driven away.
These shoes are for export. After the inmates finish the embroidery, the shoes are taken back to the manufacturers for painting, to have beads sewn on and soles attached. Then they will be packaged and sold internationally. This kind of work is very demanding. Many had to repeat their work before they met the criteria.
Time: from end of 2000 to early 2001, for several months.
1. Start with the three circles in the middle; the holes in the middle of the circle have to fit a certain pattern.
The three holes on the pattern are not in the same line; with the middle one lower than the other two, which makes it difficult to embroider. If the three holes are made just a bit differently in size, it is difficult to proceed to the next step and align everything correctly. When embroidering the connections, if the thread is too tight or too relaxed, or if there is a slight shift in position, it will result in failing the quality check.
2. After the three circles are completed and connected, wings are embroidered along the sides. See picture below.
The top of the shoes
There are strict requirements for the positioning of the wings. It has to be exact, or else it will be difficult to continue with the 3rd step, or it will affect the previous steps and cause the process to have to be redone.
3. Completing the top of the shoes by embroidering the upper and lower parts
Again, the edges of the top of the shoes have to align exactly with the template - precise to the millimeter. Sometimes after the upper part was done well, stretching while embroidering the lower part might cause things to misalign. The same thing could happen if one finished the lower part first. This problem happened very frequently.
After a period of intensive training, basically as soon as someone was successful in embroidering the top of the shoe, the guards assigned an unrealistic quota. If someone could only make one piece per day, they would be given three or four pieces as a daily quota. The failure rate is the highest in embroidering the top of the shoe. Many people spend most of their time correcting mistakes. Sometimes, it took more time to correct the mistake than to start a new one. Some of the inmates were not able to finish even one piece in one day.
Black and white threads were used to embroider the shoes. Due to poor lighting, it was very hard on one's eyesight. At night, in room 29, those who were on the upper level of the bunk bed had more light, while those on the lower levels had to work in the shadows. It was even more difficult when one was using black threads. Even those aged 50-60 are forced to work like young people. The guards allowed seniors to buy eyeglasses, so they could make more profits.
In 2001, the labor camp accepted a contract sorting beans. Large bags of beans were brought to the camp and dumped on the workstation tables, which had not been cleaned first. Sometimes the beans fell on the ground and they were picked up. Inmates would go to the washroom during work, but they had no water to wash their hands with. They went straight back to work and continued to sort the beans without washing their hands. Some workstations are only 2-3 meters away from the washroom.
The beans had to be separated into three piles, large, middle, and small, based on whether the beans could go through different sizes of holes at the workstation. The bad ones were thrown away. The beans could dry up and lose their water throughout the course of the day. Sometimes, even though they fit the pile in the morning, they may not fit in the afternoon. The labor camp sometimes had a different criterion than the factory. It was difficult to satisfy both, and as a result, there was a lot of repeat work.
Horrible living conditions
The labor camp is overflowing with people, and they do not have enough facilities or tools for everybody. Time restrictions imposed on the inmates make it very difficult to get anything completed. Inmates lack a sense of security, because one may get scolded or punished at any time. It's depressing and scary. People are on the brink of mental collapse. Guards are breathing down everyone's necks and rushing every one to get everything done. As a result, people are fighting for everything, including water for washing their faces. This environment has brought out the worst in human nature. Here right and wrong have been turned upside down. Everything is done to make people more evil. Violence, lies, and submissiveness are rewarded. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is attacked. Human natures are perverted. Everyday, bullying, deception, quarrels and bloody fights are common place.
At 5:40 a.m., whistles wake everyone up. (It was changed to 6:10 a.m. later). No one knows when one will have to get up. It is not unusual for people to work until 11 p.m. or 12 p.m. It seems like as soon as one lies down, the piercing whistle shatters your sleep and you becomes like a robot, grabbing what is needed and moving to where you are expected to be. One suffers serious consequences if one is too slow, such as no washroom, no face washing, loosing points and suffering reprimand. In the morning, the stairs are overflowing with people who are carrying bags, buckets and benches. They fight their way down the stairs and one overhears quarrels and swearing. They have to bring everything along, including tools, change of clothes, clothes hanger, water bucket, towels, detergent, toilet paper, dishes and chopsticks, even condiments and their own benches. The benches are so hard on the buttocks that new people find them hard to sit on. One won't feel the pain any more after sitting for a long time, as the skin toughens. Everyone has two patches of darkened tough areas on their buttocks.
As soon as inmates arrive downstairs, they have to line up to brush their teeth, wash their faces and use the washroom. Near the taps are crowds of people, who are fighting to get water and space. The washroom is about 12 square meters, with two ditches by the walls that can hold a dozen people for urinating. The shower room is designed the same way, so they are also open for use as a washroom. The washroom is filled with people. If the guards realize that Falun Gong practitioners are next to each other in the washroom, they will not allow it, even if they have waited for a long time and it is their turn. The smell in the washroom is awful. If a practitioner used water to flush, he or she would be scolded and their names recorded for future punishment. There are 800 inmates in the No.3 Group at peak times. Imagine the chaos when 800 people have to finish personal hygiene and going to the washroom within 20 minutes. Everyone is on edge.
After washing is roll call, and then breakfast. Six days a week, rice noodles are served for breakfast with a whole wheat bun on the 7th day. The rice noodles have not been soaked in hot water. Everyone is given some minced meat with soybeans to eat with it. If one dares to use hot water to soak the rice noodles, points will be deducted.
Right after breakfast, a whistle blows, which means one has to begin to work. Washroom time is between 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. For almost two hundred inmates, only 5-10 minutes are available per group to go to the washroom. After the time is up, they have to continue to work until lunch.
Lunches and suppers are the same, old boring stuff. If you want to have something different or more flavored, you need to pay. Inmates have to eat in the field squatting as there is nowhere to sit. At first, inmates were allowed to pick their own spots, but now they have to go to a designated spot and are not allowed to move around. On special holidays, rotten vegetables are sometimes used to make the so-called extra dishes.
After lunch, one continues to work. Only when there was not much work were we allowed to take a nap. That was very rare. Those that worked slowly could not take a nap even when there was not much work. They would be penalized and had to work overtime. If the group is scheduled to have a shower in the afternoon, they could take a shower; if not, they had to stay in the workshop and work until supper.
During shower time, the courtyard is noisy. Each person can have only one bucket of water for the shower, and half a bucket for washing the hair. In the winter, they can have half a bucket of hot water. It takes forever to get the water. First one has to get hot water from one of the two taps by the furnace. Then one has to take the hot water to get the cold water before one can carry all the water to the shower room. After the shower, one washes ones clothes and hangs the laundry in a designated place. Then one goes back to the workshop. The shower room is so crowded. Water splashes all over the place. When one is done, one can easily get wet from somebody else's water. Noises of fighting, water, and buckets banging into each other are everywhere. Even so, there is still a long wait to shower. One hook can have two to three people's clothes on it and one has to line up for a turn to hang clothes. The shower is a short affair, because one needs to lineup afterwards to get water to wash ones clothes. You have to wash your clothes quickly because there may not be a place to hang up your clothes after. One has to be fast with everything or you cannot finish on time. About 45 minutes is allowed for showers, washing and drying the clothes, and getting back to the workshop. But there are 100-200 people in each group and the shower room can only hold a dozen people at a time. Usually a few dozen people can be in there at the same time and it is suffocating in there. There are about 20 taps for washing the clothes and it is impossible to do a good job. Once when a senior practitioner was not able to finish her laundry in time, the guards emptied her water so that she could not continue. After the clothes have been washed, they are required to be taken to a designated place to drip because there is not enough places to lay them out. When the water is dripping, the clothes have to be bundled up, so the water can be caught in a bucket. Only when the water is sufficiently dripped, can the clothes be moved to hang on the wire. No matter whether dripping or hanging, the clothes are crammed together, making it very difficult for anything to dry. As a result, the clothes give off a very foul odor. It's not unusual that clothes get lost.
After dinner, inmates like to walk around in the field, which is the only chance to exercise. However, the guards were afraid that practitioners would talk to each other, and those who had been transformed would practice again. So they banned the walk in the field.
After dinner is the evening roll call, and then back to work. A few people may be allowed to stay to watch TV, but if it is a program that besmirches Falun Dafa, everybody has to be present to be brainwashed.
When the inmates get back to their dorm, it is midnight. All bunk beds in the dorm are put together so that they can hold more people. On average, thirty people sleep in a 12-15 square meter room. For the elderly, it is very difficult to climb up and down.
When the camp is overcrowded with people, not everyone can stay in a dormitory. I can still remember the first night that I arrived at the labor camp. The courtyard was lit with only one light on a post. A number of people were being punished and had to recite the camp rules. Near the workshop of the No.2 group, a group of people were lying on a board. It looked very crowded. The guard woke up a few people to make room for me to lie down. I lay down and saw a piece of cloth over our heads as a cover. It was winter 2000. Because there was not enough room in the dormitory, the dozens of new arrivals had to sleep in the field. Every night, they had to move the boards to set up their bed (after everyone else left for their dormitory), and fold them up in the morning. When it rained, inmates had to move the workstations inside the workshop to make room for others to set up the board to sleep.
Guards at the camp intentionally make things difficult for inmates. Inmates are not allowed to use an umbrella, and there are just a dozen straw hats for everyone in the group. This is far from enough, and they are not good enough either. If it rains after the inmates get up, they are not allowed to go back to the workshop to get their straw hats, even if it pours. If it rains very hard, they may open the workshop for people to go in to eat. Inmates are supposed to carry on with their business, including washing, eating, showering, and washing their clothes in the rain.
As soon as inmates arrive at the forced labor camp, all items are confiscated. Then they have to buy them in the camp. The camp has a little store to sell daily items, which cost much more than the market price. Inmates' quilts, blankets and water buckets are confiscated when they are released, so the guards can sell them to newcomers. When inmates first arrive, all of their clothing, including sweaters, padded jacket, shoes, socks, and pants are searched by the staff and soaked in water for one week. They strip search all of the inmates before they are registered. New arrivals are interrogated, lectured, and forced to have a hair cut. After a week, the guards would call the new arrivals to take their clothes back to wash and dry them in the field. By then, the clothes have been soaking in rusty buckets for too long, and may have faded, or mixed with other colors. Then they put them out to 'dry' on the pavement where people walk on them. By then, the clothing is pretty much destroyed.
The standards for tidiness in the dormitory are very rigorous. Everyday, inmates take turns to clean the dormitory. All quilts have to be folded into squares with sharp corners. The bed sheets and pillows cannot have any crease. However, some quilts and bed pads are already very old, and it is hard to fold them into squares and pull them straight. If the guards perceive that any inmate did not do a good job, they would be punished. Also, on the shelves, all toothbrushes and mugs have to line up, and yet they are not used. They are for show. Some of the toothbrushes have not been unwrapped. All shoes under the shelves have to line up as well. When the inspectors are about to come, inmates have to repeatedly tidy up the dormitory, and sometimes, we have to replace the old toothbrushes with new ones to put on a show.
However, the living conditions inside the camp are extremely poor. The leftover bin is out in the open by the water tap. Every morning, someone from the male group comes in to shovel the leftovers to feed the pigs. The leftover tank also feeds many rats. Rats are everywhere day and night. Most of the wires have to be reconnected every morning because rats bite through them during the night. The rats can flash by on the strings and wires about one foot over people's heads. Screams are heard every now and then. At times, you can see rats climbing up someone's leg all the way to their head.
In room 29, day or night, rats are everywhere. They would go under the benches and climb onto the feet of the inmates. They would jump onto the window sill and move over to the person sitting by the window. If anybody screams, they would be scolded or recorded for punishment. At night, the rats are even more active. They would walk over people's head, hands, legs and body. Some rats bite people. Even on the hottest night, in a room with close to one hundred people, some old ladies will use a pillow, towel or clothes to cover their head before they can sleep. You can see rats make their home in inmates' weaved bags at night.
A practitioner remembers that Guangxi Women's Labor Camp is notorious for its rats. Inmates are afraid to stick their feet out at night, as the rats often bite people's toes. Many inmates' toes are injured as a result of rat bites. It is terrifying when you see rats jumping around beside the side, along the bed frames, at times over your body, face, or head. A rat bit me during my first month there. At that time, I was forced to be in the study group, where I had to memorize the prison rules, do military training, watch brainwashing videos, write responses and do hard labor. I did not finish until 2 a.m. By the time I finished going to the bathroom and went back to the dorm, it was 3 a.m. On the second day, I had to get up at 5:40 a.m. One night, after I finished at 2 a.m., I was so tired that I fell asleep right away. I never did sleep well in there because of the lack of security, the fear that I may get up too late to wash my face and brush my teeth, or the fear that I would be punished if I slept longer than allowed. I felt something biting my foot. I moved my foot, but it came back again. I was so tired that I could not open my eyes and lift my foot to drive the rat away. The following morning, I noticed many marks of the rat's teeth on my feet. The normally thick skin was gone, exposing my rosy flesh. I will never forget that hellish place. I am traumatized forever from the experience.
This unprecedented persecution of righteous faith is still going on. What I have written is just a partial account of what happened at Guangxi Women's Forced Labor Camp. Much more evil is being perpetrated secretly. However, I believe that righteousness will prevail over the evil.