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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 05/01/2013, 00.00

    CHINA - HONG KONG

    Hong Kong celebrates May Day with anti-laojiao videos



    Premiering today in Hong Kong and Taiwan, two documentaries focus on the survivors of China's brutal 're-education through labour' camps, set up by Mao to crush crime and political dissent. Old child inmates from the Dabao facility talk about eating earthworms to survive. Former prisoners from the Masanjia female camp tell a story of tortured bodies and souls.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - As Chinese authorities ponder scrapping the laojiao, the 're-education through labour' programme that is part of the country's penal system, two courageous documentary films were screened today in Hong Kong and Taipei showing the brutality child inmates suffered in the 60s and women still endure today.

    Chinese legal experts and human rights activists have tried for years to stop the laojiao, deemed "arbitrary" and "unconstitutional" by its critics. In recent months, the government has moved in different directions on the matter. After announcing it was closing "some" facilities in two provinces, it later backtracked and is now talking about reforming the system.

    The first documentary premiered today in Hong Kong's 1908 bookshop and Taipei's Cafe Philo as well as online (see trailer). Titled Juvenile Labourers Confined in Dabao, it was directed by Xie Yihui, and tells the story of the children of Dabao, a facility in Sichuan where at least 2,600 inmates died from "re-education through labour".

    After Communists came to power in 1949, juvenile labour and education centres were set up across the mainland in the late 1950s, based on the Soviet model. Young delinquents and street children were sent to such locations for reform.

    Some of the inmates were young offenders convicted of petty crimes, but many were sent by impoverished parents who believed their children would fare better in an institution where they were promised food and education.

    Witnesses said that 5,000 to 6,000 children aged from nine upwards were sent to Dabao from late 1957 until it was closed in 1962.

    Former inmates, now mostly in their 60s, said they were forced to do hard labour such as hauling wood, clearing land and planting crops under the supervision of guards armed with whips.

    At the height of the Great Famine (1958-1961) that followed the unprecedented economic disaster caused by Mao's Great Leap Forward, the child inmates ate anything they could find: earthworms, mice and poisonous plants. Whilst many still died from malnutrition, others developed parasitic infections that eventually killed them.

    Above the Ghosts' Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp (see trailer), by freelance photographer Du Bin, is the other documentary that premiered today.

    Based on the testimony of recently released prisoners, the documentary depicts the cruelty and violence perpetrated in the Masanjia women's labour camp, in Liaoning province, one of more than 300 labour camps that still dot the landscape of mainland China, where police can imprison people for up to four years without trial.

    "Re-education through labour is the most evil system on earth," said Liu Hua, a former inmate who was released in October.

    "The Masanjia female camp is the most evil camp on earth," a place where "we were made slaves and hostages," a site Chinese Human Rights Defender had already slammed as the worst in all of China.

    In telling their story, Liu and a dozen other interviewees told director Du Bin of severe torture, beatings as well as mental and sexual violence.

    Du and Xie hope that their documentaries will speed up the laojiao's demise.

    "At the camp, they don't treat people like humans," Du said. "All I want to say is that they are humans, not animals and they can't humiliate people like that."

    For her part, Xie said she hoped mainland Chinese officials would watch her film, "so they could see what consequence those regulations can have on ordinary people."

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    See also

    07/03/2015 CHINA
    NPC: Beijing promises to protect the environment, but censors pollution documentaries
    Air, water and soil pollution dominated the first day of the National Peoples’ Congress. Xi Jinping will “punish with an iron hand" those breaking environmental laws. But authorities also block an online documentary (Under the dome) on the toxic blanket that cloaks China’s skies.

    12/12/2007 CHINA
    Chinese academics call for the abolition of the laogai, prison without trial
    In a letter to the National People’s Congress and the Council of State, a group of Chinese scholars calls for the abolition of the ‘re-education through labour’ system. Established by Mao to deal with his adversaries, the system is now used by local authorities against anyone who might trouble them. For experts there is no social stability without justice.

    16/11/2013 CHINA
    One-child law and laojiaos, hopes and fears ahead of Plenum’s final document
    Despite proclamations in national press, the touted reforms of Xi Jinping’s leadership have yet to be officially sealed. Analysts and experts divided between skepticism and optimism, while the number 3 of the Party appeals to "all to cooperate " to carry forward the plan passed by the Plenum. Either way it will not be implemented until 2020.

    10/09/2013 CHINA
    Guangzhou, state gulags to be closed by year’s end
    The capital of the rich southern province of Guangdong confirms the approximately 100 detainees still held in forced labor camps will be released before 2014. But there are no religious personalities or political dissidents among them. It is not yet clear what will happen to the system of "re-education through labor" launched by Mao Zedong.

    21/01/2013 CHINA
    Forced labor camps, Party game continues amid announcements and denials
    For the third time in a month an official voice of the Communist regime announces the closing of laojiao, the fields of "re-education through labor" set up by Mao Zedong to silence opposition and now used against Christians, Falun Gong practitioners and dissidents. The first two were denied in the following days. The struggle for reform inside the CCP.



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