American Forced to Labor in Chinese Detention Center Press Conference

On June 20, the Laogai Research Foundation held a press conference at the National Press Club for Stuart Foster, an American professor recently released from an eight-month sentence at a Chinese detention center. Mr. Foster described the torture his fellow inmates endured and how he was forced to assemble 6,000 to 8,000 Christmas Lights per day. A detention center guard told him that the detention center sold the Christmas lights to American importers at the Canton Trade Fair.

Mr. Foster also expressed gratitude to US consulate officers in China who pressured Chinese police and judicial officials to respect Chinese criminal procedure laws during the prosecution and sentencing phases of his case. In addition, Mr. Foster claimed that US consulate officials ensured that detention center officials did not physically abuse him while incarcerated.

On Thursday, June 19, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher hosted Mr. Foster and the Laogai Research Foundation in his congressional office. Mr. Foster shared his experiences with the congressman and urged him to strengthen enforcement of laws prohibiting the importation of forced labor products.

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Laogai , the abbreviation for Láodòng Gǎizào (勞動改造/劳动改造), which means "reform through labor," is a slogan of the Chinese criminal justice system and has been used to refer to the use of prison labor and prison farms in the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is estimated that in the last fifty...