Women who are pregnant or disabled forced to work 14 hours a day like all the others, threatened with beatings or torture, forced to live in unhygienic conditions; often forcibly chained to their beds: this is the reality revealed in a secret diary kept by a woman prisoner in a laojiao (re-education through labor camp) in Liaoning, known as the Masanjia. The diary was smuggled out, escaping the control of the guards and is now circulating on the internet. The author was imprisoned for presenting petitions and was released from the forced labor camp in February.
The diary reveals the arbitrary abuses of police wielded out on inmates, under the guise of “maintaining stability”. It is said that women are forced to spy on each other and that the inmates are not given enough food or medical care. Some people suffering from cancer do not receive any treatment.
Since last November, when Xi Jinping became Party secretary, Party executives have been discussing the elimination of this type of detention, condemned by the UN, contrary to the Chinese constitution, but practiced since the time of Mao Zedong. Civil society remains skeptical that the Party is capable of this step towards greater civilization.
However, internal debate is strong: a sign of this was the publishing of some passages of the diary on some government sites, which later disappeared. The provincial government of Liaoning has decided to open an investigation into abuses in Masanjia camp and has promised to publish the results.
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