Forced Labor. Beatings. Electric Shocks. Torture. Those are some of the words that describe life at the Masanjia Labor Camp in Liaoning Province, according to an explosive new expose published in China. You may have heard of Masanjia before. Last year, a woman in Oregon found a note from a prisoner in China in a box of Kmart Halloween decorations. That prisoner was forced to make those decorations at Masanjia.
Now the labor camp is in the headlines again after Lens magazine published a detailed account of the life of inmates called “Walking Out of Masanjia.” The report is drawing a lot of attention in China, but one thing it doesn’t mention is who the inmates at Masanjia are. And that may be because many of them, like at other labor camps across China, are practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, who are put there because of their beliefs. Falun Gong remains the most taboo topic for the Communist Party, and the magazine does not mention it by name. But the article may have more to do with Falun Gong than at first glance--and deep political implications as well.