Thursday, December 26, 2013

China [not] closing forced labor camps (video)

CC Liu, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly;

China has forced labor camps for lower cost merchandise, but who cares? That merchandise goes mainly to the USA and Europe. It is not only for forcing free labor out of "undesirables" or promoting communism; it is for destroying civil liberties and promoting capitalism. If we don't care, we do not understand that there is no Xmas Without China. Today China announced the camps' closure, but that may just mean a change of sign boards.

World Buddhist Forum III, 2012 (
Many celebrated last week's announcement that China will abolish its much-hated "re-education through labor" system.
The system, which dates back to the 1950s, allowed the Chinese police to send anyone to prison for up to four years without a trial. [Now Americans face the same fate under the 2014 NDAA.] A labor camp sentence was almost impossible to appeal. 
Abuse not limited to Tibetan minority (NPR)
"The...labor system was arbitrary, it was abusive, it was unconstitutional," explains Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher with rights group Human Rights Watch. He argues that the system's abolition opens the door for legal reform in China. 

(MY) China's slave labor camps make toys and electronics for the West

"Sometimes we have no choice; we work till dawn. When you work all night you become dizzy and your eyes hurt because you can't take any breaks." SANTA'S WORKSHOP explores the real world of China's toy factories. Workers speak of long working hours, low wages, and dangerous work places. Those who protest or try to organize trade unions risk imprisonment. Low labor costs attract more and more companies to China. Today more than 75% of our toys are made in China. But this industry takes its toll on the workers and on the environment. European and American buyers blame bad conditions on Chinese suppliers. They say that increasingly hard competition gives them no option. Believe it? What can we do?
Big Leshan Budddha (leana.niemand3/flickr)
"There's no point in trying to improve the criminal law system, trying to decrease the incidents of torture, forced confessions, and miscarriage of justice if the police can just go another route and send someone without any kind of procedure and due process for up to four years to a labor camp," Mr. Bequelin says.
China had 260 labor camps holding 160,000 inmates at the start of this year, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Watch. But that number seems to be shrinking. The Shanghai government announced on Wednesday that it has already released all of the people held at its labor camps. 

(AH) iPad: Secret Horrors Inside Chinese Foxconn Factory City as 
American journalist gains access to see how iPads are really made.
"Changing sign boards"
Top of Leshan Buddha (Joegwolf/flickr)
Still, some fear that the extra-legal camp system will disappear in name only. Most of the people locked up under the re-education through labor system are detained for drug offenses -- either selling or buying small quantities of illegal narcotics. [The same happens to an increasing number of Americans in possession of addictive prescription narcotics and pain killers. More

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