Tears & Blood behind Made in China (China, 35 min)
Directed by: Xiaomu Qiao
Written by: Xiaomu Qiao
Cast: Tom Ozimek
A SOS letter, not in a bottle, but in a package of Halloween decorations, that have traveled 5000 miles from a Chinese labor camp to the USA drawing international attention...
In October 2012, When an American Lady Julie Keith, in Oregon, Opened a Halloween decoration box for her daughter’s birthday party, she didn’t realize what she was going to see would come to be known around the world.
A handwritten letter from an inmate at a Chinese labor Camp fell onto her lap, it was a plea for help:
If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.'
China's re-education through labor is a system of punishment that allows for detention without trial. Under the current system, police can send people to labor camps for up to four years for a variety of vaguely defined offenses. China began using the system in 1957.
Detainees in re-education centers will undergo brainwashing study sessions and are required to write daily “thought reports.” Detainees are often kept there until they “change their thinking” and “raise their level of understanding.” China also uses state-run mental health hospitals to keep political prisoners. However, in practice it has led to the creation of a vast network of prison labor camps known as Laogai across the country.
Chinese state media said China has 310 labor camps holding about 310,000 prisoners and employing 100,000 staff, According to estimates from the Laogai Research Foundation, there are 6.8 million people incarcerated in China's 1,100 labor institutions.
China's booming economy continues to increase through its use of slave labor. Inmates are used to produce cheap commodities, which, although officially prohibited from exportation, are often indistinguishable from factory goods and continue to find their way into the global market
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website states, that most cases of products found to be made with forced labor, are from China. Common everyday products ranging from artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree lights, bracelets, tools and foodstuffs, etc. According to a 1998 House Committee on International Relations report, companies who reportedly have or have had products made in Chinese labor camps, include many Major International Companies.
Now China is the world’s biggest exporter and trader. Every year China exports $2,050 trillion us dollars worth of goods all over the world. In 2012,
China exported 376 billion us dollar goods to EU 27 countries, exported 352 billion us dollar goods to the US and 54 Billion us dollar goods to the UK. No one knows how many of them are from Chinese labor camp.
The products made in labor camp are produced by people who are forced to work are in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Because of malnutrition, sleep deprivation and stress, detainees in labor camp often contract lice, scabies, and other ailments. Sick detainees are still forced to work. Many are not allowed to take showers for long periods of time, allowing all manner of bodily substances to come into contact with the items they manufacture. These products are then shipped all over the world.
In June 2013, the New York Times reported they had found the man who wrote the letter that was found by Julie Keith. According to the New York times, the 47-year-old former inmate was detained at the Masanjia labor camp for his faith in Falun Gong, He wrote 20 similar letters over two years and hid them inside products he believed were to be shipped to the West. He was released from the labor camp in 2010; the article says the man's account of 'life in the camp' matched those of other inmates who say they produced the same Halloween-themed items.
For Julie Keith, News came with a feeling of relief. She said knowing the man is alive brings some sense of closure.
Julie Keith took the box and letter to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, The Homeland Security office of public affair confirmed that the case has been looking into.
This documentary is tracing back the letter and interview some former inmates from Chinese labor camp and experts to reveal products made in China exported to western country are from Chinese Labor camp and explores Chinese labor camp system and how it exploits and abuses detainees to make products. The film aims to bring public awareness.