Chinese Activist Speaks Out on Forced Labor in Prisons -

Chinese Activist Speaks Out on Forced Labor in Prisons

  • Published on
    November 15, 2017
  • Written by:
    Jamison Liang
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Forced Labor
Hero Banner

Chinese blind legal activist, Chen Guangcheng, is calling on China to end forced labor in its prison system, where inmates produce goods ranging from Christmas lights to chopsticks. As a campaigner he has advocated for farmers, disabled citizens, and exposed forced abortions under China’s one-child policy, making his work particularly sensitive to the government.

Thomson Reuters Foundation interviewed Guangcheng at the Trust Conference this week, where he talked about the growing problem of forced labor in prisons:

In 2006, when Chen was jailed for four years on what he said were trumped up charges, he discovered prisoners were being forced to work for up 16 hours a day to make various products and tortured if they did not work hard enough.

Since then Chen has added the battle against forced labour in China’s massive “prison factories” to his list of causes, saying he feared the human rights situation in China was “growing worse” and calling for action.

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 3.4 million people are enslaved in China. The country denies the existence of forced labor but Guangcheng and other activists point to the prison system where inmates “reform through labor.” The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional commission of the U.S. government, noted this August that China still relies on forced labor in its prisons.

Guangcheng, who because he is blind was not forced into manual labor, recalls that when he was in jail “the cries of people being beaten become a common background noise.”

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Migrant workers jailed in Qatar over demands for owed wages

Five months on from the World Cup final, migrant workers continue to report exploitative labor practices and mistreatment at the hands of Qatari authorities. Three former security guards have been jailed in Qatar for four months following their repeated requests for unpaid wages from their employer, Stark Security Services. Though lauded by FIFA as an opportunity to improve Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, workers who toiled to make the world’s

| Friday May 26, 2023

Read more