This Tuesday, IWP interns had the chance to tour the Laogai Museum and speak with former prisoner and founder Harry Wu.
The interns were given a brief tour of the Laogai Museum, which resides on the first floor of the Laogai Research Foundation. The museum offers visitors a history of the oppressive Chinese regime put in place under Mao Zedong. Although small in size, the Laogai Museum delves into the various political and religious reasons the Chinese Communist Party has used to arrest and imprison individuals. From the execution of prisoners for organ transplants to the products produced through forced labor, the Laogai System is a terrible system of which few people are aware. The Laogai Museum provides insight in this terrible, unpublicized aspect of the communist regime in China today.
The Laogai System is a group of prison camps which use forced labor to punish individuals who act or speak out against the Communist Party. After speaking out about the Soviet Union, an ally of the Chinese Communist Party at the time, Harry Wu was sent to one of these camps in 1960. As a result of his own personal experience in the Laogai System, Harry Wu founded the Laogai Research Foundation in 1992. This Foundation seeks to raise awareness of the atrocities of the Laogai System and to research the system. For example, the staff member who gave the IWP interns a tour of the museum is researching any goods that may be produced in Laogai prisons that have made it into the United States to be sold, even though the U.S. has banned the sale of goods made under forced labor.
The IWP interns had the privilege of speaking with Harry Wu, the founder of the Laogai Research Foundation and Laogai Museum. Mr. Wu shared his experience of being arrested and imprisoned in the Laogai System and gave the interns a perspective on the issue that can only be gained after hearing a personal story. The interns also had the opportunity to ask Mr. Wu any questions about his experience and what his thoughts were on the state of the Chinese communist regime today.