[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 143 (Wednesday, October 5, 1994)]
[Page H]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: October 5, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                          CHINESE FORCED LABOR

  (Ms. PELOSI asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 
minute and to revise and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I very sadly rise today to call to the 
Members' attention these flowers, which are flowers which have been 
smuggled out of a Chinese prison labor camp to the United States for 
your attention.
  Last night ABC news aired an alarming story about the continued 
export of forced labor products into this country from China in 
violation of U.S. laws, contrary to claims by the U.S. Government and 
the Chinese Government that this is not happening.
  At great personal risk, a very courageous prisoner provided this 
evidence. His name is Chen Pokong, a young economics professor who is 
serving time for his pro-democratic activities in China. He sent a 
compelling appeal for help, relating the terrible tale of ill treatment 
and slave labor in a world where political prisoners labor 14 hours a 
day, are forced to haul stones all day, and make these flowers at 
  In his letter he says that when inmates to not work fast enough 
``Inmates are often brutally beaten until they are blood-stained all 
over. Nobody would believe such cruelty and barbarity.''
  Mr. Speaker, I call this to our Members' attention. I call upon you 
to protect the courageous Chen Pokong and call on our administration to 
stop the forced labor products coming into the U.S., and the unfairness 
to American workers, as well.
  Mr. Speaker, I include for the Record the following letter from Chen 
     To: United Nations International Human Rights Organization, 
         Voice of America, Asian Watch.
     From: Chen Jingsong, Guangdong, China.
       I am CHEN Jingsong, alias CHEN Pokong, formerly teacher, 
     department of economics, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou. I 
     was arrested as a ``culprit'' for participating, and leading, 
     in the pro-democracy movement in Guangdong area in 1989, and 
     sentenced to 3-year imprisonment on charges of 
     ``counterrevolutionary propaganda and instigation''. In July 
     1992, upon completing my term, I was released. However, I 
     continued engaging in political activities--disseminating 
     ideas of democracy, creating progressive publications and 
     disseminating them. In August 1993 I was again wanted by the 
     authorities. I fled to Hong Kong and applied to the Hong Kong 
     government for political asylum, but to no avail. On 
     September 1, 1993 I was again arrested in Zhengcheng, 
     Guangdong. 2 months later I was sent to reeducation through 
     labor for a duration of 2 years.
       To vent their bitter hatred on me, the Guangdong 
     authorities sent me to a most vicious RTL--Guangdong No. 1 
     RTL, Quarry 1, Company 9 in Chini Town, Hua County, Guangdong 
     Province, where I am engaged in long-hours and high-intensity 
     slave labor.
       Reeducation through labor is the darkest part of China's 
     current political system. Ironically, RTL policy and 
     regulations worked out by the Chinese government itself have 
     been altered beyond recognition in their practical 
     implementation. According to RTL policy and regulations RTL 
     is lighter than LR (labor reform): inmates get their pays, 
     have their benefits and holidays, enjoy the right of 
     correspondence, cultural, recreational and sports activities, 
     do not labor more than 8 hours daily, can visit their 
     families on holidays, can be bailed for medical treatment, 
     etc. In reality, RTL is hell.
       Here, we labor over 14 hours daily. In daytime, we 
     transport stone materials on a wharf and load them in boats. 
     At night we make handicrafts: artificial flowers. On Sunday, 
     and holidays we labor as usual (except for 3 days during the 
     Spring Festival). We labor rain or shine. Inmates are just 
     tools of labor, by no means ``trainees'', as we are called.
       Here, Labor intensity is extremely high. ``Production'' 
     quotas are heavy. Those who fail to complete have their 
     ``points'' reduced (i.e., their RTL duration lengthened). To 
     complete our quotas, we must often labor overtime, sometimes 
     even through the night. Without the discreet assistance from 
     my fellow inmates, I would have to labor almost always 
     through the night. Inmates who labor slightly slower are 
     brutally beaten and misused by supervisors and team leaders 
     (themselves inmates). Inmates are often beaten until they are 
     blood-stained all over, collapse or lose consciousness 
     (shortly before I was sent here, one inmate was beaten to 
     death). Nobody would believe such cruelty and barbarity, 
     should he not see all this with his own eyes. Though 
     discreetly taken care of by the company commander, several 
     times I was beaten by the team leader. I am constantly 
     exposed to terror.
       Living conditions here are harsh. Every meal consists of 
     coarse rice and rotten vegetable leaves. Hardly can we see 
     any grease. We have a little bit meat only on major holidays 
     (Spring Festival, for instance). We make our own daily 
     arrangements: bedding, clothing, daily necessities, even 
     medical treatment, which is a great burden for us.
       Inmates are seldom given leave when they are injured on the 
     job or sick, to say nothing of being bailed for medical 
     treatment. Still, they have to labor. Many inmates, including 
     myself, their hands and feet squashed by big stones, stained 
     with blood and pus, have to labor as usual. As a consequence, 
     many inmates were crippled for life.
       There are almost no cultural, recreational and sports 
     facilities. The only entertainment is watching TV series for 
     \1/2\ or 1 hour in the evening when production quotas are not 
     too heavy. No books at all, very few newspapers, no 
     broadcasts to listen in to. Complete cultural and press 
     blockade. For me, there is something more: correspondence 
     blockade, as I receive and mail almost no letters.
       The artificial flowers we make are for export. The trade 
     marks are in English, the prices in USD (see appendix). Even 
     the company commander and the quarry director said the 
     flowers are made in cooperation with a Hong Kong company that 
     exports them. This is in serious violence of international 
     human rights norms, international law, even the Chinese 
     government's law.
       As a matter of fact in the recent decade and more all 
     products turned out by LR, RTL and detention facilities in 
     Guangdong Province are almost exclusively for export (usually 
     in cooperation with Hong Kong and Taiwan companies). For 
     instance, Huanghua Detention Center in Guangzhou, at least 
     since 1989, when I was there and experienced everything 
     myself, has been forcing detainees to make artificial 
     flowers, necklaces, jewelry (trade marks in English, prices 
     in USD). This can be testified to by anybody who was there, 
     including Hong Kongers.
       What I testify to above is wanton trampling not only upon 
     international human rights norms, but upon basic humanitarian 
     norms as well. Here in RTL, the concept of human rights is 
       I am thrown into this hell because the Guangdong 
     authorities want to crush me spiritually and physically. This 
     is political retaliation and persecution.
       Being in this critical situation, I have no choice but to 
     appeal to you. I strongly urge all progressive forces the 
     world over to pay close attention to human rights conditions 
     in China, to extend their assistance to the Chinese people 
     who are in an abyss of misery. I strongly appeal to 
     international progressive organizations to urge the Guangdong 
     authorities to cease persecuting me politically!
       I understand that once my letter is published, I might be 
     persecuted even more harshly. I might even be killed. But, I 
     have no choice!
       Thank you!
     Chen Pokong.