Beautiful Toothpicks Point to Slave Labor in Detention
Overseas media have exposed dark scenes of slave labor
in China’s detention centers, one after another.
Detainees are forced to make goods from toothpicks wrapped
in flower designs, to parts for brand-named products,
and the detention centers earn huge profits.
Why does the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) allow
such practices to exist, while the international community
widely criticizes them?
On Oct. 4, the overseas minghui.org published a letter
from a Falun Gong practitioner, exposing that all detainees
at the Liaoning Wafangdian Detention Center are forced to
“engage in heavy slave labor”; the main product produced
being long toothpicks with flower-shaped decorations.
The Falun Gong practitioner detained at the detention center
said that between the years of 2000 and 2002, the persecution
of Falun Gong by Jiang Zemin’s regime was the most severe.
Wafangdian Detention Center was full, due to high numbers
of detainees, and all—men and women, old and young—
were forced to work overtime, so that the detention center
would make huge profits.
The glue used to wrap the toothpicks was a chemical paste
with about 10% urea, which smelled bad.
The sanitation in the detention center was very poor;
detainees would use the toothpicks to pick at their teeth, ears,
or even their feet if they had athlete’s foot; then these used
toothpicks would end up wrapped in plastic and lined up
in boxes, presented nicely.
These seemingly beautiful toothpicks reveal only the tip of
an iceberg in slave labor products from detention centers.
The overseas human rights group, International Organization
to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong have released
a number of investigative reports over the years, exposing
the forced labor by Falun Gong in the CCP’s judicial system.
Former Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Li, who lives in the U.S.
was once illegally detained at Pulandian Detention Center,
30 km from Wafangdian—he shared his experience with us.
Mr. Li: “I was in the Pulandian Detention Center in Liaoning
Province for 10 months around the year 2000.”
“One labor we did was to wrap fire crackers in paper,
another was making flowers using iron wires,
and a third one was making fishing nets.”
“Usually we had to get up at 5 a.m. and work until 11 p.m.;
this was the normal schedule.”
“If you didn’t finish the work, you had to stay up until 1 a.m.
or 2 a.m.—you had to finish.”
Minghui.org reported on Sept. 30 that the paper cups of
Tianjin’s well-known Kangshifu muffins, the wrapping paper
of Beijing’s Daoxiangcun pastries and the paper cups of
Shanghai Zhongyangbao cakes have been made by detainees
at the Qinhuangdao Detention Center for many years.
It was reported that in one female ward, one must make
4,000 to 5,000 pieces per day.
Some people become too tired to eat and their hands
shake constantly, even when not working.
The glue used is toxic and burns the flesh,
causing many to suffer scarring on their fingers.
Even with such highly intense labor, their daily meal is only
a hard, black bread role and a bowl of porridge for breakfast,
and the same at night, with a lunch of two black bread roles
and boiled cabbage in water.
Falun Gong practitioners who refused to work were tortured
by police, and held for days in handcuffs and foot chains.
Mr. Li: “Inside the detention center, you were forced to work
even before the judgment of your case was concluded.
Falun Gong practitioners certainly did not get any payment
for working; police may want some information from you
for the trials, then may send someone to give you more work;
you need to work fast, or else the criminals will beat you.”
Li Shanjian, commentator: “From what I know, these people
do not have any basic human rights at all; they are slaves.”
“Labor money is used by the staff from the judiciary system,
or the police take it as their bonus; this is a known secret.”
Li Shanjian points out that there is another reason why
the CCP forces detained Falun Gong practitioners to work.
Li Shan Kam: “In fact, the police also know that
the persecution of Falun Gong is not right.”
“Without gaining money or benefits, they don’t want to be
a part of it; so the CCP allows them to make money over this
and many carry out the persecution against their conscience.”
The CCP not only deprives people of their beliefs,
but also sell products with poor hygiene,
harming the health of people worldwide.
Interview & Edit/TangYin Post-Production/GeLei