I Never Eat Food Made by Beijing “Holiland”
(Minghui.org) Fine gifts and ornaments such as “Holiland” moon cake boxes, cotton flannel toys, and Chinese decorative knotting are usually given as gifts to express people’s best wishes. However, who could have imagined that some of these items are produced under horrific conditions by illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing Women’s Prison? Who would have associated the cheerful items with a persecution against humanity? Who could have imagined that the people making them were not paid? Who could have realized that the makers are not everyday workers, but Falun Gong practitioners from every profession and trade in Beijing who were being made to do forced labor?
The Beijing Women’s Prison has forced Falun Gong practitioners to make Holiland moon cake boxes since 2005. The forced labor begins in June every year and is extremely hard and tiring. When I was detained there, the guards held practitioners on an empty floor where all the window blinds were kept closed, and practitioners had to make Holiland moon cake boxes which are put together with toxic glue.
College professor Ms. Li Li and primary school teacher Ms. Gong Ruiping were also incarcerated there. Every day we had to work from dawn to dark. The toxic glue’s smell was so cloying that many practitioners felt dizzy and some even vomited. The workload was very heavy. We had to turn the raw materials delivered by trucks and trailers every day into finished products. In addition, we had to do all the loading and unloading. The prison’s Ward No. 10 made a lot of money through this forced labor. So did Ward No. 8 who followed Ward No. 10's example.
After I was released, I never ate Holiland food. I also told my friends not to eat it. Whenever I saw Holiland’s staff, I told them, “Your boss had Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in the Beijing Women’s Prison make those moon cake boxes.”
We were also forced to make Halloween decorations for export. In addition, we sewed eyes and mouths onto cotton flannel toys, sewed flowers and tinsel to clothes, made Chinese knots and packed chopsticks. In 2003, the guards from Ward No. 3 stored the chopsticks in the bathrooms. Soaked in the bath water, all the chopsticks became moldy. However, the guards dried them out and still had us pack them up. They were later delivered to the factory.
From 2002 to 2004 we were forced to make medical sterile cotton swabs. Every day we started working at 6:00 a.m. and couldn’t stop until 11:00 p.m.
The guards often made practitioners sew sweaters. They forced each practitioner to finish an adult sweater in three days, during which time we sometimes had to work through the night. Because of the repetitive motion and intensity of the labor, some practitioners’ fingers became deformed or suffered tenosynovitis. Furthermore, the guards often took cashmere wool home. Ward head Zheng Yumei had practitioners make sweaters for her own personal use. So did guards Shen Yanqiu, Xiao Rui and Du Liwei.
We also folded express-mail envelopes. Each practitioner was required to fold 1,200 envelopes per day. We began the work at 6:00 a.m. and sometimes couldn’t finish until after midnight. Due to the intensity of this forced labor, many practitioners’ fingers bled. We also put statements into envelopes for China Southern Asset Management. Practitioners in Ward No. 3 once made game cards using the plastic welding gun and often worked till midnight. The guards in Ward No. 10 even forced practitioners to do carving work for a company owned by prisoner Liu Xiaojie. Liu took advantage of practitioners’ free labor and earned money for herself and the guards.
In 2002 I was sent to the Beijing Women’s Prison, where I was made to do tremendous forced labor. I didn’t get paid at all. In 2006 the guards announced a little pay of about 10 yuan a year. Very few people would receive about 30 yuan a year. However, this was a lie and just a number on a list. The money was not deposited to our accounts. I never received it even after I was released.