Labor camps reinforce China’s totalitarian rule

But the longing for freedom and democracy persists

By: Harry Wu

(CNN) — Communism in China can be roughly divided into two separate phases, one “the Mao era” and the other “the Deng era.”

In some respects, Mao and Deng were different in their means, modes and methods of rule. Deng, for example, allowed for much greater economic liberalization than Mao, and it has provided for advancement and a rise in the average standard of living.

On a more fundamental scale, however, the two eras differ very little.

The nation has remained consistently under the absolute control of the Communist Party. Today’s

Inmates work at a Beijing prison

rulers clearly and continually maintain that they have no intention or inclination of giving up totalitarian control of the Chinese people.

Despite this totalitarianism, the spirit of those who long for freedom and democracy persists. Some people have taken a stand for freedom in events such as the Tiananmen protests of 1989, in the formation of political dissent groups such as the Chinese Democratic Party, and in religious activities by such groups as the Falun Gong sect and the underground church.

Oppression and infringement

Because of their beliefs and convictions, these people face oppression and serious infringement upon their basic human rights.

At the core of such human rights abuses in China today lies a systemized mechanism known as the Laogai that exists for the purpose of crushing human beings physically, psychologically and spiritually.

This system of at least 1,100 known forced-labor camps is driven by hard-line ideology, Communist Party directives and the

China prison scene

whims of local cadres. It is designed as a repressive mechanism to control and, in effect, eliminate anyone whose political, religious or societal views differ from those of the Communist Party.

The Laogai is not simply a prison system; it is a political tool for maintaining the Communist Party’s totalitarian rule. A fundamental policy of the Laogai states that “forced labor is a means toward the goal of thought reform.”

Communist economic theory maintains that human beings are the first and most basic productive force of a nation. Prisoners of course are not excluded.

They must be utilized as part of this productive force and must submit to Communist authorities. Submission is often achieved through violence, but psychological and spiritual submissiveness known as “thought reform” is considered the optimal goal.     [FULL  STORY]