COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
PUBLIC HEARING ON THE SOCIAL CLAUSE:
HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION OR PROTECTIONISM?
Brussels, 17 and 18 June 1997
SUMMARY RECORD OF PRESENTATIONS
The abuse of prison labour by Harry Wu Laogai Research Foundation
I am honoured to be here to share my views on the forced labour camp system of China. Everyone knows that every tyrannical system requires a
suppression machine to maintain power. Hitler needed the concentration camps, Stalin needed the Gulag. Communist China's prison system has its own
special name: the Laogai camps. "Laogai" means "forced labour" and "forced to reform". "Laogai" is a popular word in China. Almost everyone in
China is familiar with it, and has either been personally detained, or has had family members or friends who were detained.
What is the Laogai?
According to the Communist ideology, the state is a machine of violence enabling one class to rule another.
This machine of violence is made up of the army, police, courts, prisons and other compulsory facilities. The Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong,
while integrating Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution, clearly expressed this issue: "Army, police, courts, prison and other
parts of the state machinery are tools for one class to oppress another.
For oppressed classes, they are tools of suppression. They are violence, by no means something merciful". (Mao Zedong: Selected Works, Vol. 4, p.
1431). This means that the Laogai facilities are one of the violent components on this state machinery. The People's Republic of China is a socialist
A socialist state's Laogai facilities are an important component of the people's democratic dictatorship. Laogai facilities are established at all
levels - prisons, Laogai (i.e. "reform through labour") camps, Laojiao (i.e. "re-education through labour") camps and juvenile criminal camps, all
of them tools representing the interests of the Communist regime and exercising dictatorship over a minority of hostile elements originating from the
so- called exploiting classes.
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