Last December, a woman in Oregon found a handwritten letter hidden inside a package of Halloween decorations she purchased from Kmart. The letter described awful forced-labor conditions in a Chinese prison factory. Now, The New York Times says they have found the man who wrote it. According to the article, the 47-year-old former prisoner, who now lives in Beijing, said he was imprisoned for refusing to convert from his religion of Falun Gong, a faith deemed a cult by the Chinese government. Along with prisoners convicted of serious crimes, he was also held with members of China’s underground churches, who were also being imprisoned for their beliefs.
The letter said there were “Thousands people here who are under the persicution [sic] of the Chinese Communist Party Government.” In his recent interview, he described regular torture, 15-hour work days, sleep deprivation and being subjected to unspeakable abuses while going through a program of “re-education through labor” making products like the Kmart Halloween decorations in secret factories. All of the former prisoners interviewed in the story said the torture and forced labor was because they refused to renounce their faith … Discuss
Egypt’s controversial draft constitution goes up for vote this Saturday, and whatever happens, it will have implications for religious freedom, political future, democratic opportunity, social justice and more. The whole thing is complex, hotly debated and often misunderstood. Here’s three things you should know about the situation—and why you should care. Read More