NEW YORK, May 30 (FDI) -- The grim realities of life in a Chinese labor camp were well-hidden in a recent media tour of a portion of Masanjia Labor Camp. The truth is prisoners endure hard labor, rotten food and soiled drinking water, unsanitary and overcrowded living space, and financial extortion of themselves and their families. Beyond these, staff inflict physical and psychological torture of all types on the prisoners, including shackling prisoners in inhumane positions, beating prisoners unconscious, using electric batons, and torturing some to death if they refuse to renounce their peaceful faith.

The following are actual cases of Falun Gong practitioners who were detained in China's labor camps:

  • Amy Lee, artist and fashion designer (DC) Detained and beaten unconscious after being arrested in Tiananmen Square. She was physically abused and was forced to make toys for export to the U.S. at the labor camp. She was force-fed and tortured in a mental hospital before escaping to the US. Her husband, under tremendous pressure, was forced to divorce her and deprive her of child custody rights.
  • Ms. Jian Tang, Ph.D. (Manchester, Missouri), detained in Tianhe detention center, shackled, force-fed, and forced to assemble plastic flowers for export in an unheated cell in the middle of winter.
  • Ms. Liu Dongmei, lecturer at Northeast Finance and Economics University. Sentenced to three years at the Masanjia re-education labor camp, she was brainwashed by guards and coerced to renounce her faith. She has recently spoken out against her captors and their methods.
  • Alicia Zhao, Marketing Manager (California), arrested and taken from a hotel room in the middle of the night. Detained for two weeks in a labor camp, Alicia was forced to endure harsh conditions, abuse, and manual labor of making products for export. The jailors prepared a "model cell" to show to visitors, complete with brand new amenities, which were just the stage for the show tour, but not for actual use.

Many more detailed accounts available at Contact the Falun Dafa InfoCenter for interviews with practitioners who were imprisoned in Chinese labor camps, and who are currently residing in the US and Canada.

The contrast between these dark scenarios and the cheery stories arranged for the media at Masanjia Labor Camp last week is stark, the credibility gap huge. Why were the prisoners shown in Masanjia wearing jackets bearing their names spelled out in Western letters and not in Chinese characters? Why were they watching re-education programs in English, with Chinese subtitles? Why did it take a whole month to prepare for the reporters' visit (see FDI's press statement on 4/26 regarding China's announcement to allow visitors into Masanjia)? Why were two-thirds of the camps prisoners off-limits? These anomalies cast further doubt on the authenticity of the scene presented by the PRC, as does the pervasive smell of "fresh paint" during the tour recounted by NBC reporters.

If the Chinese government is serious about labeling its labor camps as "benign wellness centers," it will grant international media unannounced visits to labor camps at any time and place chosen by the reporters. If the staff and hand-picked prisoners have not had months to rehearse their interviews, will their performances be so polished and upbeat as those witnessed by reporters last week? Let the international media and the public decide whose accounts of life in the labor camps are credible. Labor camps are pervasive in China, and are a deadly tool in the Chinese arsenal against freedom of belief one well-rehearsed counter-example does little to clear Jiang Zemin's name.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, or to arrange interviews with these Falun Gong practitioners who have first-hand accounts of the labor camps in China, please contact the Falun Dafa InfoCenter. Gail Rachlin 212-501-8080, Adam Montanaro 917-405-4507, or Feng Yuan 917-912-3301. Email:, website: