Hello everybody! October has been a busy month, and we at the Laogai Museum are happy to say that we have been visited by several student groups this fall. The tour groups, which have ranged from high school freshman to Annapolis Naval Academy language students, came to our new Dupont Circle location to gain a greater understanding of the injustices currently taking place in China. The visits began with a speech from Harry Wu, former political prisoner, and ended with guided tours of the museum. Mr. Wu’s story of 19 years in the Laogai prisons and his path to becoming a rights advocate help put a face on these abuses, and also helps students to relate to China’s tumultuous Communist era history. After gaining an understanding about Mao Zedong and the political campaigns he used to consolidate his power, it is easier for museum visitors to put classified CCP documents, prisoner belongings, and information about political dissidents into context. Looking at real products produced inside the walls of China’s prisons, these issues hit home for the students, who are always amazed to find out that the U.S. allows importation of Laogai goods to continue. It is always refreshing to meet young people (and their innovative teachers) who are not only interested in the issue of human rights in China, but who also want to do something to help.
The Laogai Museum also continued its film series into the month of October. Every Saturday, films highlighted different issues in Chinese human rights, with topics that included organ harvesting, the effects of the One Child Policy, and unrest in Tibet.
We hope to have more student groups and visitors in the month of November! If you are interested in organizing a guided tour, contact Laogai@laogai.org. Harry Wu is also available to speak at school and other public events.