Over 90 students from area schools visited the Laogai Museum on October 2nd and 3rd. The first group was from American University’s Washington Semester Program and was a mix of students just beginning college to seniors on their way to begin work on China issues. As part of Dr Richard Semiatin’s class, the students spent the morning at the Laogai Museum, where the museum’s founder, Mr Harry Wu, retold his story of being imprisoned in the Laogai and fielded questions afterward. Many of the students were curious about China’s future and asked Mr Wu for his opinion on the likelihood of China democratizing and on the implications for human rights in light of U.S.-Sino trade relations today.
The other group visited the museum as part of their East Asian history class at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. These high school students already knew much about Chinese history, and could even speak a little Chinese. However, they had never imagined that such large-scale cruelty was still going on. The high school students were curious about Mr Wu’s background, as well as many of the personal stories of others who served time in the Laogai. Museum staff led the high school students through the museum and helped answer their questions ranging from the reasons why Laogai products are still found on American store shelves to the significance of Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square. Many left with wider eyes than when they went in.
The Laogai Museum staff and Mr Wu thank these students for visiting the museum and welcome them back to explore the museum more.
If you want to arrange a tour for your group or to speak with Mr Wu, please email Laogai@laogai.org or call (202) 730-9308.