Back in the communist 50's

by tristan B on November 16, 2013 - 8:44am

In the article found on BBC News, entitled ''Reforming China's gulags'' written by Damian Grammaticas, we learn about the China's re-education camps, which were initially put in place in 1950. These camps are like prison, but to go through your ‘’sentence’’ you must do labor. There are many guards that are constantly watching over you, and walls and watchtowers are surrounding the place. The people who are sent to re-education camps are often prostitutes or drug addicts, as well as anybody who shows a minimum of disagreement with the government, such as religious people, other than what the communist party allows. Everybody who is sent to the camps enters there with no legal process and they use the camps to erase the people who battle for injustices. In this situation, the rights of the citizens are completely restricted. "I refused to bow my head in submission, so they hit me, again and again," says a man who went to these camps in the older days. The officers are not shy to use force against the people locked-in. At least, in some regions, those camps are starting to decrease slowly, having only the drug addicts whom are given treatments and really meant to help.

I already knew the whole history of the re-education camps of the Revolutionary China because I had the chance earlier to work on this time period. However, I had no idea that there was still some going on in China. For the government, it is a solution but I think that in no way these camps can help China. People are locked in there and they are told that if they sign a paper, they can get out and the whole case is none existent. Therefore, if someone has been raped and beaten, the government will try to make you sign the paper so that you do not go to re-education camps but either, your aggressor will have no penalty because they do not want to search for him. This system is the result of the impact of corruption over the police.


I totally agree with you. I do not think it is the good way to re-educated the people of China. Like it says in the summary, people who go there have not really did something against someone, but they need to be help by professionals. According to me, it is not good to hit them, they will not re-rehabilitate the society like that. I think people who are in difficulties like the prostitutes and the drug addicts have to go in a center where they can be heard by professionals who can help them. It is good that they learn how to work, but not in the way it is mentioned in the article.

I find your article interesting for that it talks about something that most of us aren’t aware of. I mean, as you wrote, you didn’t know there were camps still operational today. Neither did I. And I am ready to bet that most of us here didn’t either. And to me, this is a deep concern – that is, both the principle of these re-education camps, but also and especially the fact that we know nearly nothing about them. Isn’t it kind of (sadly) ironical that we now know everything about these Nazi extermination camps and Soviet gulags that were settled about 70 years ago – and that we, for the most, strongly decry what has been committed there –, and that we are in the dark regarding these re-education camps that are operational today, in our own world?

One should remember that none of the Allies were aware of the Nazi camps during World War II, either. Those – and all the atrocities that came with them – were entirely discovered post-War (or by the end of the War, technically). Now, do not mistake me: I certainly don’t pretend that the current regime in China is capable of repeating the same atrocities – nor that there are any parallels to be drawn. Far from there.

But let’s look at the facts: as you mentioned it, there are people sent to these camps without going through any sort of legal process. Human rights are violated – and so is likely international law. The freedom of some individuals is unfairly, illegally taken away from them… just because they were slightly off the government views, in some cases! The BBC itself – not me – compared these camps to gulags!

My goal is certainly not to sound alarmist. Yet, I want to point out that there’s actually something to worry about, regarding these camps.

I ought to believe that there would be a massive, international wave of protest against these re-education camps… If only people knew about them. As far as I’m concerned, this is the main cause for the absence of outcry: there’s so few information getting out from China – and/or circulating within the Chinese territory. Thus, I am glad that the BBC put the situation in light, at least for us from the outside. I am also glad that there seems to be growing pressure on the Chinese government for making reforms. Yet, the international and Chinese communities – as well as all of us – shall ensure that this pressure keeps growing, and that these reforms actually do take place… The earlier the better!

I was completely shocked to hear that these types of camps still exist in the world today. In school we learn about the horrors of the Holocaust that had bad concentration camps, and to hear that forms of these camps are still around is sad. The concept of getting prostitutes and drug addicts help is great, but the way they are going about it is just wrong. I don’t think many people are aware of these camps in China and if they were I think they would be appalled at the complete disregard of human rights. I would have liked to have heard more direct quotes from people or actual information about what the camps are like. Overall, I really enjoyed the article and I think you did a great job getting the topic out to people who don’t know about it.

This is such a great article. It’s crazy to think that this is the way the world was 50-60 years ago. This hasn’t necessarily had an impact on my family and I, but it definitely has had an impact on the people, and the families of these people have been deeply affected by the strict rules and regulations of this time period. The review of this article is an excellent description of the much longer article you made available, and that is what is important when reviewing an important issue.

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