Laogai: The Chinese Gulag

Overview

In this original and evocative work, Hongda Harry Wu reveals the hidden world of the laogaidui--the PRC's labor reform camps--to the Western reader. Wu, himself a survivor of nineteen years in the camps, takes the reader through the harsh landscape found there. He thoroughly explains their ideological origins, complex structure, and living conditions--which the author claims are approached only by the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet Gulag. What makes the PRC's laogaidui unique, according to Wu, is the ...
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Overview

In this original and evocative work, Hongda Harry Wu reveals the hidden world of the laogaidui--the PRC's labor reform camps--to the Western reader. Wu, himself a survivor of nineteen years in the camps, takes the reader through the harsh landscape found there. He thoroughly explains their ideological origins, complex structure, and living conditions--which the author claims are approached only by the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet Gulag. What makes the PRC's laogaidui unique, according to Wu, is the essential contribution to China's GNP of the commodities produced by the prisoners and the concomitant indispensability to the nation's economic health. The author bolsters the text with a rich compilation of photographs, charts, and maps that reflect his exhaustive research and personal history in the camps. This book provides a comprehensive view of the grim reality of the labor camps, presenting a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the PRC.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Harry Wu's home videos of the Chinese gulag were shown on 60 Minutes last September, the American public first learned the dirty secret of China's extensive network of forced labor (laogai) camps. (Earlier, the human rights group Asia Watch showed that Chinese convict labor products were being illegally exported to the United States.) Wu, himself a laogai prisoner for 19 years, is an authentic voice from the vast silence of China's hidden empire. His spare, sober account is a well-documented analysis of the several thousand forced labor camps, where an estimated 16 to 20 million Chinese, perhaps ten percent of them political offenders, labor on prison farms, and in factories and workshops, in a harsh atmosphere permeated by sadism, torture, and malnutrition. The Chinese Communists obviously learned many lessons from their Soviet comrades, whose gulag Solzhenitsyn so brilliantly chronicled. This is a unique and valuable contribution to our understanding of post-1949 China.-- Steven I. Levine, Boulder Run Research, Hillsborough, N.C.
Booknews
Wu spent 19 years in labor reform camps in China, and likens them to Nazi concentration camps and Soviet gulags; the main difference, he says, is that the forced labor is used to produce many products being exported to the West. He outlines their place in the political structure and provides details of 990 camps. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813381541
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Pages: 247
  • Lexile: 1470L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
The Organization and Distribution of Labor Reform Camps 6
The Population of the Labor Reform Camps 14
The Political Function of Labor Reform Camps 19
Political Prisoners in the Laogaidui 21
Thought Reform in the Labor Reform Camps 27
Forced Labor and Labor Production in the Labor Reform Camps 33
Labor Reform Enterprise's Place in the Economic System of the People's Republic of China 41
Notes 49
2 Convicted Labor Reform (Laogai) 54
The General Development of Convicted Labor Reform 54
Objects of Laogai 61
Living Conditions Under Convicted Labor Reform 64
Punishment in Convicted Labor Reform 68
Convicted Labor Reform Production 72
Notes 77
3 Reeducation Through Labor (Laojiao) 81
The Historical Background and Theoretical Basis of Reeducation Through Labor 82
General Development of Reeducation Through Labor (Laojiao) 88
Reeducation Through Labor Subjects and Arrests 91
The Realities of Reeducation Through Labor 95
Notes 104
4 Forced Job Placement (Jiuye) 108
The True Nature of Forced Job Placement 108
The Development of Forced Job Placement 111
Actual Conditions of Forced Job Placement 114
Notes 118
5 Labor Reform Under Deng Xiaoping 119
Recent Developments in Labor Reform 120
Recent Changes in Labor Reform Policy 122
The New Pattern of Labor Reform Production 127
Lingering Problems 132
Notes 141
Afterword 143
Appendix 1: Information on 990 Labor Reform Camps 147
Appendix 2: Commodities of the Labor Reform Camps of the People's Republic of China as of March 1990 214
Appendix 3: Three Sample Laogaidui 218
Appendix 4: Volvo-Chinter Case 227
Appendix 5: A List of Nine Industrial Labor Reform Enterprises That Have Attained the Standard of National Second-Level Enterprises 229
About the Author 231
About the Book 234
Index 235
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