Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Laogai

Attentive readers (how I love you all) may recall that I touched briefly some time ago on the laogai prison system in China. It was a post that led one blogger to question whether I was aware of the concepts of personal responsibility or of moral authority, though on what grounds I was unable to discover. Jay Nordlinger expands on one particular case, Dr Charles Lee of the Falun Gong movement.

The authorities forced him to sit on a bench, staring straight ahead into a wall, for almost 50 straight days. Dr. Lee told me, "Your body starts to rot." Eventually, his heart began to fail, and he had trouble breathing.

Unpleasant prison regimes are ten a penny in the undemocratic world, so why the specific attention paid to China? Well, there is a rather unsavoury twist to this story.

During certain periods of his confinement, Dr. Lee was made to work, in prison sweatshops. He assembled Christmas lights, in brutal conditions. At another time, he made bedroom slippers, with Homer Simpson's image on them. (You know Homer: the dad from the television cartoon.) You put your foot where Homer's mouth is.

Still, it could be worse: it could be Guantanamo Bay I suppose.

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