A cry for help inside Chinese labour camp hidden inside Halloween decoration, read 8,000 kilometres away
The cry for help, a neatly folded letter stuffed inside a package of Halloween decorations sold at Kmart, travelled 8,000 kilometres from China into the hands of a mother of two in Oregon.
Scrawling in wobbly English on a sheet of onionskin paper, the writer said he was imprisoned at a labour camp in this northeastern Chinese town, where, he said, inmates toiled seven days a week, their 15-hour days haunted by sadistic guards.
“Sir: If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization,” said the note, which was tucked between two ersatz tombstones and fell out when the woman, Julie Keith, opened the box in her living room last October. “Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”
The letter drew international media coverage and widespread attention to China’s opaque system of “re-education through labour,” a collection of penal colonies where petty criminals, religious offenders and critics of the government can be given up to four-year sentences by the police without trial. (Photo: AP Photo/John Leicester,File)