Liaoning Women's Prison Makes Huge Profits by Using High-Intensity Forced Labor
(Clearwisdom.net) I am an overseas Falun Gong practitioner who came from China. In 2002, I was sentenced to 3 years of prison because of my belief. I was imprisoned at Liaoning Province Women's Prison, which is located in Masanjia, Shenyang City, for three years. There were over 3,000 people imprisoned there, including innocent Falun Gong practitioners.
According to China's labor laws, detainees are allowed breaks on regular holidays and weekends. Falun Gong practitioners are innocent of any crime, and shouldn't be imprisoned or subjected to forced labor. However, all the detainees at Liaoning Province Women's Prison are forced to work all year round except Chinese New Year's Day. Between 2003 and 2005, about 500 female Falun Gong practitioners were imprisoned there. There are 10 regular divisions in the prison, plus one division for seniors and the disabled. Each division is responsible for one or two primary products, in addition to other products.
I was held in Ward 7, where there were about 350 people divided into 7 groups. Each group had about 50-60 people. Groups 1, 2, and 7 were machine-sewing assembly groups. Groups 3, 4, 5, and 6 were hand-labor groups, producing cotton swabs throughout the year. I was assigned to a machine-sewing assembly group. We produced uniforms, sheets, bedspreads, pillowcases, curtains, all kinds of clothes (including jeans, sleepwear, shirts, children's clothes, skirts, and so on), pillows, pads, slipcovers, piano covers, table covers, television covers, and covers for drinking water dispensers. Sometimes we also hand-sewed gloves, sweaters, toys, and the edges of other products, and made chicken feather wreaths, cotton swabs, crafts, stone mosaics, and so forth. During the breakout of SARS, we produced huge amounts of respirators, active-carbon respirators, sealed anti-bacteria exposure suits, and so on.
Each ward is contracted with the ward head. After paying several million yuan per year as a processing fee to the prison and paying a salary to the prison guards, the ward heads get the remaining sum of money. To gain financial profit, they brutally exploit detainees and violate the labor laws (which state that detainees can work up to 8 hours per day). Detainees in the prison are subjected to extended hours of forced labor, usually 15 hours per day. Laborers work from 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Even so, for over 6 months per year, laborers are forced to work overtime until 11:30 p.m. Some are even forced to work for 23 hours per day, from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Sometimes people are so tired that they faint, feel sick, or vomit. After taking a rest for only 3 hours in the cells, the next day they have to return to work for the next 17 hours.
During the global economic crisis and market depression, prisons can easily acquire contracts on orders because the production costs in the prisons are far below the market price. For example, the production cost for the coat of a dining service uniform is at least 8 to 12 yuan in the market, while the cost for the entire suit is only 1.3 yuan in the prisons. There is always work to do in the prison throughout the entire year. The prison never pays detainees. Based on the quantity of one's production, detainees can only earn working points which could be considered for compensation.
In addition, the sanitary condition of the prison workshop is very poor. Clothes, pillowcases, sleepwear, shirts and other products are left on the ground. People step on them. After being packaged, they are directly transported to the market or exported to other countries.