Name: National Stadium, a.k.a. Bird’s Nest
Events: Opening and closing ceremonies, track and field, soccer finals
Name: Tuanhe “Re-education Through Labor” Camp
Address: 1-Tuan’gui Street, Liu Village, Huangcun Town, Daxing District, Beijing
From Beijing International Airport: Total 55.2 km
From Wangfujing (City Center) Subway Station:Total 29.4 km
A. Beijing Capital International Airport: ( 首都国际机场)
B. National Stadium: (鸟巢国家体育场)
C. Tiananmen Square: (天安门广场)
D. Subway station
E. Women Labor Camp: (女子劳教所)
F. Tuanhe Labor Camp: (团河劳教所)
About Tuanhe “Re-education Through Labor” Camp
Tuanhe Labor Camp has been in use since the 1960s, and is said to hold several thousand prisoners. Tuanhe Dispatch Center is part of the same complex, and all prisoners sent to “re-education through labor” (RTL) facilities in Beijing must first pass through the Tuanhe Dispatch Center before going to other sites. Both men and women are confined in the dispatch center, but in separate facilities. Tuanhe Labor Camp is male only.
According to Chen Gang, a New Jersey resident and Falun Gong practitioner held in Tuanhe for 18 months, from 2000-2001, the majority of prisoners were Falun Gong adherents.
According to former detainees, prisoners are held in unsanitary conditions, with over a dozen individuals sharing a room of 130 square feet in which they eat, work, and perform bodily functions. Former prisoners speak of working over 16 hours a day packaging chopsticks for domestic and international use in unhygienic conditions, as well as being subjected to beatings, severe sleep deprivation, electric baton shocks, and anti-Falun Gong study sessions.
Chopsticks (primary) and steel brushes.
Falun Gong practitioner Chen Ying, now living in France, wrote the following about her experience producing chopsticks in Tuanhe:
“I was locked up with over a dozen other Falun Gong practitioners in a cell that was about twelve square meters (130 square feet) in size. We did everything in this cell, including working, eating, drinking, and using the toilet; therefore, there were many flies and mosquitoes. If we could not finish the work assigned to us, we were not allowed to clean ourselves.
“We were allowed very little sleep each day, and forced to start working the moment we opened our eyes. My hands had blisters and thick calluses from working long hours to finish the assigned quota of packaging disposable chopsticks. I often worked until midnight. We were not allowed to sleep unless we finished the quota. We were forced to work over 16 hours every day, and everything was done in our cells.
“The sanitation conditions were extremely poor. Even though we were packaging disposable chopsticks and the label said the chopsticks were disinfected at a high temperature, the entire process was unhygienic. We could not wash our hands, and we had to package those chopsticks that had fallen on the floor. In order to seek a huge profit, Tuanhe Prisoner Dispatch Center and Tuanhe Labor Camp disregarded the health of the general public and knowingly committed such wrongdoings. Many restaurants in Beijing are currently using these chopsticks. I heard they are even being exported to other countries.”
In 2001, a closely managed tour of the Tuanhe Labor Camp was conducted for foreign media, exhibiting sections of the camp containing green fields and animals such as deer. However, former prisoners held in the camp at the time speak of a staged presentation by prison officials for the benefit of reporters. Chen Gang reports that before the tour, roads were repaired, buildings painted, and prisoners were given a list of questions and answers to memorize. The list included questions like, “Were there any beatings?” Answer: “No.” During that period of time, practitioners who had not renounced their beliefs were sent to a remote corner of the camp. When they were returned, they were told that reporters had come for a visit, but that officials did not want them to see the practitioners.
Chen also learned after his release that two practitioners who had arrived at Tuanhe only a day or two before the tour were allowed to meet reporters. They were separated and isolated upon their arrival. When reporters asked them if they practice Falun Gong, they replied, “Yes” and when they asked if they had been beaten, they said “no.” Each situation was crafted to convey a positive impression of the facility, as realistically as possible.
1. Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience: Bu Dongwei
Bu Dongwei currently serving 2.5 year sentence.
Mr. Bu Dongwei was working for the Asia Foundation, an American aid organization, when he was taken from his home in May 2006 by security agents and sentenced to two and a half years of “re-education through labor” (RTL) because he practices Falun Gong.
According to Amnesty International (AI): “This is not the first time Bu Dongwei has been imprisoned for his beliefs. After petitioning the authorities to review their ban on Falun Gong in 2000, he was sentenced to 10 months RTL…. Amnesty International has been told that during RTL he was deprived of sleep, beaten and forced to sit in a small chair all day - all to make him renounce his beliefs.”
AI considers him a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release, an end to the crackdown against Falun Gong, and abolishment of the RTL system. See: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGASA170522007&lang=e
2. Former prisoner of conscience: Zhao Ming
Zhao Ming, post-graduate student at Ireland’s Trinity College, held at Tuanhe from July 2000 to March 2002
“When I visited China to appeal on behalf of Falun Gong, I was jailed. In the labor camp…I was forced to stand and squat for long periods of time, repeatedly shocked with electric batons, sleep deprived, made to attend brainwashing classes, and force-fed.
“Ten inmates who were under orders by the police guards in the camp once beat me together, which made my thighs black all over with bruises and made me unable to walk for two weeks after that. Two weeks before I was released, I was shocked with 6 electric batons by 5 policemen while tied up on a bed board.”
3. Message for reporters from former prisoner Chen Gang, a musician currently living in New Jersey.
“The CCP can stage everything. I don’t know if they [reporters] can discover the truth there. If you want to know the facts you have to find a way. Don’t be fooled by the CCP. A few of my friends are still in prison there. They could even be tortured to death by now.
“It’s really hard and dangerous but I hope reporters can discover the crimes behind closed doors.”— July 26, 2008
Chen Gang, Zhao Ming, Chen Ying, and Bu Dongwei’s wife, herself a former prisoner of conscience currently residing in the United States, are available for interviews upon request.
- Excerpt from report “Torture Outside the Olympic Village: A Guide to China’s Labor Camps“, by CIPFG