Laogai: più di tre milioni di schiavi in Cina

I laogai, proprio come i gulag sovietici,  non sono solo i campi di concentramento dove milioni di uomini e donne sono confinati ai lavori forzati, ma è anche un sistema con cui lo Stato riesce ad avere il monopolio del potere. Il libro “Laogai: la macchina della repressione” spiega le ragioni politiche del perchè ancora oggi nella Repubblica Popolare cinese continuano ad esistere i laogai.

Segue articolo in inglese:

Modeled after the Soviet gulag, China’s system of forced labor camps is now more than a half-century old, but it remains as essential as ever to the modern Communist regime. That’s because the system – the laogai – is not just a large group of places where millions of men and women are confined to do forced labor and to endure other cruel punishment. More important, the laogai is a collective tool to maintain the Party/state partnership’s monopoly of power.
You would think that as China has modernized economically, the Beijing regime would have less need for such a cruel system. Indeed, the Party/state monopoly is eroding, gradually, but the rulers’ determination to retain it is not. Beijing is as dependent as ever on arbitrarily detaining and abusing those seen as a threat to that monopoly.

Changing the Term of the Debate

A powerful new book, “Laogai: The Machinery of Repression,” explains those political reasons for the durability of the laogai in the People’s Republic of China. It also illustrates the plight of the 3,000,000 or more slave laborers with never-before-published photographs smuggled out of the country, as well as with other disturbing photos.

The 160-page volume, of coffee-table size but not content, features a forward by Harry Wu, a survivor of 16 years in the laogai. He has dedicated – and risked – his life to oppose oppression in his native land. Thanks to his single-minded effort, he has succeeded in popularizing the term laogai as a gulag with Chinese characteristics.

“Laogai: The Machinery of Repression” deals candidly with the role that the laogai has played in China’s economic development. The book has pictures, some taken by Harry Wu, of a few laogai-made exports — plastic flowers, tea, tea cups, dolls, rubber boots, chains, clasps – and of several prisons that double as factories.

Wu tells his own moving story as a prisoner and as a campaigner relentlessly exposing laogai-made products. During one of his secret trips to gather evidence, he landed in jail for 66 days. He was released only after intensive efforts spearheaded by Jeff Fiedler, an AFL-CIO leader and longtime friend.

Wu’s campaign against laogai imports, embraced by Congress, produced two U.S-China agreements designed to enforce a U.S. (and China) law against trade in prison-labor products. The results are zero or thereabouts. Whom to blame? Deception by Chinese officials. The difficulties of gathering evidence in China. An unenthusiastic U.S. bureaucracy. And above all, in my view, a high-level unwillingness to disturb a bilateral relationship that enriches the elite on both sides.

To be fair, there was one success. A prison-made Diesel engine was blocked from U.S. entry in 1992. But that apparently did nothing to make life more bearable for prisoners in the Golden Horse Diesel factory, also serving as Yunnan No. 1 prison, where the blocked engine originated. As late as February this year, women imprisoned in that factory were reportedly required to work 14 hours a day.

The People’s Republic of China is the second largest trading partner of the United States. Last year, we imported goods worth $337,772,628,000 from China, not counting $6,483,400,000 from Hong Kong.

How much of those “made-in-Chinas” goods were made in the laogai? Nobody knows. Who cares?

“Laogai: The Machinery of Repression” is published by Umbrage Books in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fonte: Dossier Tibet, 21 marzo 2010

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