Make no mistake about it, the four Chinese citizens who were arrested recently on charges of inciting “dissatisfication with the government” would have been able to make their posts on twitter. However, because the Chinese government doesn’t allow its citizens to have twitter accounts, they were left no choice but to comment on Sina Weibo, a highly monitored Chinese equivalent to twitter. Whether or not the “rumors” spread about the mythologized Chinese hero Lei Feng are true or not is beside the point. The fact that Chinese citzens can be arrested for leaving simple and non-threatening comments on social media sites is remeniscent of an Orwellian society. Comparing modern China to 1984 might be a little extreme, however, Xi Jinping’s reform ambitions continue to appear hollow in the wake of arrests for such petty thought crime.
A group of 107 high school students visited the Laogai Museum as part of Hampton University’s Pre-College Summer Program. The students received guided tours of the artifacts on display in the museum from Laogai Research Foundation staff and were treated to a presentation delivered by Executive Director Harry Wu on his experiences in China’s laogai system. The Chinese Communist Party arrested Mr. Wu in 1960 for being a “counter-revolutionary rightist.” He subsequently spent 19 years in various labor camps before being released in 1979.
The Laogai Museum features exhibits, archived documents, and original artifacts depicting the horrors of China’s laogai system, China’s vast system of detention facilities in which countless political prisoners are incarcerated. The museum exists to raise awareness of the laogai system and human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party.
If you would like to reserve a group tour of the museum and participate in a discussion with Laogai Research Foundation Executive Director Harry Wu about China’s laogai system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-408-8300.
In a typical move, government officials in central China used thousands of police officers to effectively shut down an entire city in an effort to minimize protests against the government’s plans to open a state-sponsored petroleum plant. As China’s middle class becomes more concerned with the country’s environmental policy, clashes should figure to become more commonplace.
Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese reform activist who recently gained fame through a daring escape from home detention, is now facing a new problem. His nephew, Chen Kegui, was imprisoned last year after a sham trial meant to bring retribution to the Chen family for Chen Guangcheng’s escape. Recently news has leaked suggesting that Chen Kegui is suffering from an inflamed appendix that happens to be life-threatening without surgery. As expected, Chinese authorities are offering Chen Kegui noneffective antibiotics and are refusing his transfer to a hospital for the necessary surgery.
Do you feel that your social studies and history curriculum is static, boring, and too Western-centric? Do you think your students might welcome lessons that cover the appalling, brutal, and still incredibly relevant nature of the Chinese Communist Party? Do you feel that your unit on the Cold War, history of communism, or history of the 20th century is limited due to its exclusion of the Chinese story? Do you want to prepare your students with a basic understanding of modern Chinese history given the reality of today’s global economy?
Do your students know that Chairman Mao was responsible for more than 5 times the death toll (via executions, policy induced famine, torture, war, nuclear testing, political purging, etc…) that Adolf Hitler is associated with? Do your students know that the China is by far the most populous country in the world? Can your students explain the extreme cultural differences between Tibetan Chinese, Uyghur Chinese, and Han Chinese people? Chances are that your textbook does not adequately cover the turbulent history of arguably the soon-to-be most influential country in the world.
The Laogai Research Foundation has recently employed Cole Mitchell, a history graduate student who has a background in teaching high school government, world history, and world geography. Cole’s passion lies in creating innovative lesson plans that pique the interest of students. If you are interested in working with Cole to develop lesson plans for your classes that align with state standards and classroom learning objectives, please don’t hesitate to contact him. He can be reached at the contact information below:
Laogai Research Foundation
1734 20th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
The last few weeks have been rife with violence in China’s Westernmost province. Due to its high proportion of Uyghurs (an ethnic minority that is predominately Muslim), Xinjiang has been a breeding ground for (more often than not) state sponsored violence.
China has arrested several more Uyghurs in connection with a violent clash between supposed “terrorists” and Chinese police last week. Given the clout surrounding the Chinese state-sponsored media, the “true story” of last week’s events may never be known.
“The US has urged China to conduct a transparent investigation after clashes in the restive Xinjiang region left 21 people dead.”
Xinjiang is frequently marked by ethnic violence. Tuesday, however, was hardly ordinary. It all began as Chinese officials began searching the homes of suspected Uyghurs for weapons. Before the end of the day, some 15 police and government officials were dead.
It is widely known that Chinese government officials are some of the wealthiest government officials in the world. It is also well known that many of China’s government officials acquire their wealth through fraud, intimidation, and other forms of corruption. Apparently the Chinese government just doesn’t want this widely known reality to become even more transparent. In a rather commonplace reaction that makes most Westerners shudder, the government is reportedly seeking”illegal assembly” charges for the activists, an offense that carries a 5 year prison term.