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A Plea From Chinese Labour Camp Also Reached Austria
By Gao Zitan
Epoch Times Staff
The recent case of a plea for help from a labor camp in China, discovered in a Halloween set purchased by a woman in Oregon, is not the only one of its kind.
A decade ago a similar plea for help from a Chinese labor camp was found in Austria, mirroring closely the recent Oregon case.
An Austrian found the plea for help hidden in a set of napkin rings that they had purchased. The letter was from a detainee of Chatou Women’s Labor Camp in Guangzhou, China. The Austrian eventually passed the letter to the local human rights organization in Austria. Mr. Wang Yong, the coordinator of the Austrian Falun Dafa Association confirmed the incident.
In December 2002, an Austrian had bought napkin rings made by the Austrian company Eduscho, finding a letter in the package from a Falun Gong practitioner that reported having been jailed and tortured in one of China’s notorious labor camps, and pleading for help. The letter subsequently passed through many hands before reaching Amnesty International Austria, who then faxed the letter to the Austrian Falun Dafa Association.
Wang Yong, of the Falun Dafa Association in Australia, said: “Because the person who found the letter and handed it to Amnesty International was unwilling to have their name and information revealed, Amnesty International Austria was unable to interview them. However, an investigation by Amnesty International revealed that similar letters had also been found in products by German-based Tchibo, a parent company of Eduscho.”
Wang said that the Austrian Falun Dafa Association contacted Eduscho immediately. Because of the seriousness of the matter, Eduscho contacted their German parent company Tchibo directly. Tchibo sent a representative to the city of Vienna, Austria to meet with the local Falun Dafa Association. In that meeting, Tchibo confirmed that they had also found similar letters in Germany, pleading for help from detained Falun Gong practitioners in China at about the same time.
According to Wang, Tchibo then admitted that their partner factory in China was not very far from the labor camp where the letter was from. After discovering that the factory alone didn’t have the capacity for production to meet their current contract, Tchibo claimed that they had terminated the contract with the Chinese factory. “But Tchibo was unwilling to reveal their written stance on the case,” Wang said.
Wang also told the Epoch Times that he had contacted the Austrian branch of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) regarding this case, and that they recorded it in a special investigation report about the incident.
A copy of the actual handwritten “SOS” letter, written in English, from the Chatou Forced Labor Camp in Guangzhou, is posted on the website of the European Falun Dafa Association:
“Dear Sir/Madam, We are practitioners of Falun Dafa in Guangzhou in China. We cultivate ourselves as per the law of “Truthfulness, Benevolance, Forbearence”. We were put in jail by the gov’t because of it. Here, the gov’t police use various cruel ways to force us to give up our cultivation, which includes terrible mental and physical torture. Even when the exping date comes, they won’t set us free. They send us to the places so-called “study school” to continue to torture us. They would beat us hardly and cut off all the contacts between us and our families. Please put this terrible evil to the public. We need your help very much. Would you please submit this message to the International Human Right Organization, and send this to: http://www.minghui.com.net orhttp://www.yuanming.com(net). We’ll be very thankful for your help. Many Practitioners in Guangzhou were put in a jail called: Chatou Women’s Prison, Xiao Dao, Guangzhou, China, Postcode: 510435, Date: Sept. 12, 2002”
Chatou Female Forced Labor Camp in Baiyun district, Guangzhou is actually an isolated island on the Pearl River. The torture methods discussed on Clearwisdom.net against detained Falun Gong practitioners in this labor camp include sleep deprivation, hanging, beatings, forced feeding with hot-peppers, and injections of nerve-damaging medicine.
Wang Yuqing, a Falun Gong practitioner from Guangzhou who fled China, says that in February of 2000 she had been sent to Chatou Female Forced Labor Camp for persecution. Based on her experiences, she believes that “SOS” letters stuffed into exports are mostly from detained Falun Gong practitioners in prisons, since the great majority of the prisoners of conscience are Falun Gong practitioners, and adherents are often dedicated to exposing the persecution they’re subject to.
Many Falun Gong detainees are also well-educated, enabling them to write in English.
About the letter in Oregon, Wang Yuqing said, “There must be far more than one, even if only a few have been exposed.”
“Each of the exports is likely to contain tears and blood of the detainees, including Falun Gong practitioners,” Wang says. Currently, the forced labor system exists only in China, where the police have the power to detain a person for three years without any legal procedures. While the number of forced labor camps in China is secret, the number of labor camps and prisons where products are made may number in the thousands.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Some foreign observers estimated that at least half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in the country’s reeducation-through-labor camps were Falun Gong adherents. Falun Gong sources overseas placed the number even higher.”