China's Labor Camps — AI Shadow Report to UN

Created: 2013-05-21 17:37 EST

Category: China
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Forced labor camps in China continue to operate as usual despite Chinese officials announcing they would shut them down.

[Elisabeth Löfgren, Press Secretary Amnesty International Sweden]
"Labor camps have been in China since the nineteen fifties and we don’t know exactly how many there are. Probably about three hundred and maybe more."

Amnesty International submitted a shadow report on China's human rights abuses to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). It focuses on evictions, discrimination of people in rural areas, so called, Hokou, and forced labor camps.

Rights groups estimate that millions of people are being detained in China's forced labor camps and detention centers, where they are subjected to horrible conditions, slave labor, and torture.

 [Elisabeth Löfgren, Press Secretary Amnesty International Sweden]
"We have worked all along for the closure of these camps because they are extra-legal. There are no legal procedures it's only the police who have the possibility to put people in the camps. You can be sent there after not being sentenced in court. You can also be sent there if you haven’t been committing a crime at all. Lots of Falun Gong practitioners but also petitioners who have been going to Beijing to protests and Amnesty calls for the closure of these camps.”

An article published in the Chinese magazine Lens described systematic torture in one of Chinas most notorious labor camps for women, Masanjia. An inmate in Masanjia described the camp as hell on earth.

[Elisabeth Löfgren, Press Secretary Amnesty International Sweden]
"The Masanjia camp supposed to be one of the harsher camps especially on forced labor. Normally they have rule that they should work for five or six hours and that they should get paid. In Masanjia we heard that they work for 14 to 15 hours a day and they get paid a dollar and a half a month which is absolutely nothing and the torture is very severe in this camp especially if you are a Falun Gong practitioner and if you don't give up your faith then you are likely to be severally punished."

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will meet in Geneva from May 21st to 24th for the concluding report.

NTD News, Stockholm Sweden