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US Congress Resolution 294/2005 -Condemning LAOGAI

December 16, 2005
Washington, D.C.- This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 294, a resolution condemning China's forced labor prison camp system, the "laogai", with a vote of 413 to 1.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and other members of Congress introduced the resolution. Representative Wolf, who chairs the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, co-sponsored the resolution, along with co-chairman Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA).

Below is the text of the resolution.

Calling on the international community to condemn the Laogai, the system of forced labor prison camps in the People's Republic of China, as a tool for suppression maintained by the... (Introduced in House)

HCON 294 IH

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. CON. RES. 294
Calling on the international community to condemn the Laogai, the system of forced labor prison camps in the People's Republic of China, as a tool for suppression maintained by the Chinese Government.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 9, 2005
Mr. WOLF (for himself, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Ms. PELOSI, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, and Mr. STARK) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

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CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
Calling on the international community to condemn the Laogai, the system of forced labor prison camps in the People's Republic of China, as a tool for suppression maintained by the Chinese Government.

Whereas the Laogai is a vast prison labor system in the People's Republic of China and consists of a network of more than 1,000 prisons, camps, and mental institutions in which detainees must work at factories, farms, mines, and other facilities;

Whereas the two major aims of the Laogai are to generate economic resources for the state through free labor and to `reform criminals' through hard labor and political indoctrination;

Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China relies on the Laogai as a tool for political suppression of pro-democracy activists, Internet dissidents, labor activists, and religious and spiritual believers, including Han Chinese, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, and `house church' Christians;

Whereas, while the Soviet Gulags no longer exist, the Chinese Laogai is still fully operational, subjecting most of its three million prisoners to forced labor by threatening torture;

Whereas fifty million people have suffered as prisoners in the Laogai since its inception;

Whereas Laogai prisoners are deprived of religious freedom and forced to give up their political views in order to become a `new socialist person' and uphold communism and the Chinese Communist Party;

Whereas in recent years, more than 100,000 religious believers have been unjustly and illegally imprisoned in one Laogai camp alone, where they have been beaten, tortured, and often killed;

Whereas Laogai prisoners are forced to work long hours in appalling conditions, including mining asbestos and other toxic chemicals with no protective clothing, tanning hides while standing naked in vats filled with chemicals used for softening of animal skins, and working in mining facilities where explosions and other accidents are a common occurrence;

Whereas it is documented that China's national policy since 1984 has been to extract organs from executed prisoners without prior consent of the prisoners or their family members, setting China apart from every other country in the world;

Whereas there are more than 1,000 instances in which organs are harvested from executed Chinese prisoners every year;

Whereas both Chinese and foreign patients from around the world receive organs transplanted from executed Chinese prisoners;

Whereas Laogai prisoners are required to make confessions of their wrongdoings, which include political and religious views that the Chinese Communist Party wishes to suppress;

Whereas Chinese citizens are not guaranteed due process of law nor even a right to trial;

Whereas many individuals are often convicted and sentenced with no trial at all, or they are convicted with `evidence' extracted through torture;

Whereas in one part of the Laogai system known as the Laojiao, or reeducation-through-labor, Chinese citizens can be detained for up to three years without any judicial review or formal appearance in the judicial system;

Whereas goods produced by forced labor in the Laogai system continue to be exported to the United States and the world;

Whereas the Chinese Government has continuously encouraged the export of goods produced through the Laogai prison system and relies on forced labor as an integral part of its economy;

Whereas forced labor and torture practices carried out in the Laogai violate international laws, standards, and treaties to which China is party, including the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and

Whereas China, a member State of the International Labor Organization, also violates many agreements regarding labor conditions and the rights of workers: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) calls on the international community to condemn the Laogai, the system of forced labor prison camps in the People's Republic of China, as a tool for suppression maintained by the Chinese Government;

(2) calls on the Government of the United States to fully implement United States laws that prohibit the importation of forced labor products made in the Laogai;

(3) calls on the Government of the United States to take actions to review the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Prison Labor in 1992 and the Statement of Cooperation in 1994 with respect to the Laogai;

(4) will undertake efforts to join with the European Parliament to urge the introduction of a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemning the Laogai and the human rights situation in China;

(5) calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to release information about the Laogai, including the total number of Laogai camps and prisoners throughout China, the exact locations of the camps, and the business production activities taking place at the camps;

(6) calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to release information about the number of executions of prisoners at the camps that are carried out every year, and the extent of the harvesting and transplantation of organs of executed prisoners;

(7) urges the Government of the People's Republic of China to allow unrestricted visits by international human rights inspectors, including United Nations inspectors, to Laogai camps throughout China; and

(8) urges the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to investigate the Laogai system in China and to make recommendations for United States policy that will help protect human rights for Chinese citizens.

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