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Guide to Beijing Olympic Reporters: Torture Outside The Olympic Village in Labor Camps, By CIPFG

Posted by Author on August 2, 2008

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)-


Tuanhe RTL Camp (left); Gao Rongrong, a Falun Gong practitioner who was incarcerated in Masanjia and tortured to death (right).

The polished exteriors of China's 'Re-education Through Labor' (RTL) facilities belie the horrors within. Shown: Tuanhe RTL Camp (left); Gao Rongrong, a Falun Gong practitioner who was incarcerated in Masanjia and tortured to death (right).

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“When you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You will see the truth, but not the whole truth…. You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are built on a base of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood.”

– Open letter by prominent Chinese rights defenders Hu Jia and Teng Biao, September 2007.

When 25,000 reporters arrive in China to cover the Olympic Games, enthusiastic youngsters, glittering venues, primly trimmed parks and state-of-the-art subways will leave a strong impression. As Hu Jia and Teng Biao note above, however, there is another side to the “New China” that the Chinese Communist Party is much less keen on showcasing to the international community.

It is a China of electric cattle prods, of 18 hour work days, of unspeakable torture and humiliation, of religious believers forced to endure endless hours of “thought reform.” It is a China of “re-education through labor” (RTL) camps.

It is this China, its daily reality to millions of Chinese, and its incongruity with Olympic ideals of human dignity, peace, and non-discrimination, that this modest booklet seeks to bring forth.

What’s in the Guide?

The focus of this guide are seven labor camps and other detention facilities located in close proximity to Olympic venues and known to be particularly egregious in their treatment of adherents of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, a religious minority that remains the single, largest persecuted group in China today.

Each of the seven detention facilities is presented with:

  • Map: A map showing the location of the facility, the location of the closest Olympic venue, and English-language directions to the camp from the nearest airport and train station.
  • Description of facility: A photo and general description of the facility, details of its prisoner population and overall conditions
  • Products and show tours: Products known to have been manufactured at the site and details of prior show tours to the facility, when relevant
  • Individual cases: Brief individual case summaries of current and former prisoners of conscience, the abuse they have suffered in custody, and whether they are available to be interviewed.
  • Contact information: The contact names and phone numbers of the labor camp, as well as of officials who are alleged to have participated in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners at these facilities. The contact information was gathered from documents published online over a period of several years; as such, since the information was made public, it is possible that it may have been changed.


The RTL System:
China’s “re-education through labor” (RTL) camp system has been in place since the 1950s and includes a network of dozens of camps. It is a form of administrative detention to which individuals are sentenced by police or other security agencies for up to three years without charge, trial, or possibility for judicial review.

The speed and secrecy with which individuals may be sentenced has made it a central method used by the Party for detaining “undesirables.” Those detained at RTL camps include:

  • Drug addicts, prostitutes, and vagrants
  • Political dissidents and citizens petitioning the government
  • Since 1999, large numbers of people who practice Falun Gong.

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2007 report on human rights in China: “some foreign observers estimated that Falun Gong adherents constituted at least half of the 250,000 recorded inmates” in China’s vast labor camp system.

Maltreatment and torture:
Conditions within the camps are widely acknowledged to be extremely poor and abusive. Former prisoners report being fed inadequate rations, being denied sufficient time to wash, and being forced to participate in long hours of slave labor, performing a variety of manufacturing tasks.

According to Amnesty International, it “continues to receive regular reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment taking place in RTL facilities.”

In this context, Falun Gong detainees are particularly vulnerable to severe forms of abuse. A 2006 report by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture stated that Falun Gong practitioners accounted for 66 percent of all alleged torture victims in China. In over 3,000 documented cases, such abuse in custody has led to the adherent’s death.

Pre-Olympic “Clean-up”

Unfortunately, this dynamic has not changed with the approach of the Olympics. On the contrary, according to Amnesty International: “In the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing police have used abusive detention practices such as RTL to ‘clean up’ the city.” Among those systematically targeted for such detention have been Falun Gong practitioners.

In early July, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported that “there have been at least 8,037 arrests of Falun Gong adherents across 29 provinces, major cities and autonomous regions since December 2007.” Of these, over 208 individuals have been arrested in Beijing and at least 30 of them sentenced without trial to RTL camps for up to 2.5 years.

Their crime? Peacefully safeguarding their fundamental human and Chinese constitutional right to freedom of belief.


Despite pledges by Chinese leaders of complete media freedom when bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games, it is becoming clear that foreign reporters arriving en masse in Beijing will confront a security-obsessed city and significant challenges in covering stories that do not match the choreographed China the regime seeks to portray to the world.

Nevertheless, we urge you to find ways to follow the directions in this guide, cover the stories of the prisoners mentioned, and seek out the true reality in these facilities. We urge you to do so outside of official channels, because, as several show tours and one former detainee have indicated, “The CCP can stage anything.”

In conducting your investigation, however, we also highly recommend reading Human Rights Watch’s Reporters’ Guide to China Olympics, and taking great care to minimize risk to interviewees, support staff–such as translators, drivers, and guides–and of course, yourself.

Download PDF:

Print [7.5Mb] | Online viewing/email [812kb]

– Original : Torture Outside the Olympic Village: A Guide to China’s Labor Camps

One Response to “Guide to Beijing Olympic Reporters: Torture Outside The Olympic Village in Labor Camps, By CIPFG”

  1. space man said

    Hi there:)

    Well, everything is wonderful, but you didnt mentioned some risks and dangers that could prevent on going out the streets, where there are many people, crowd and everything like that…i doubt that something can happen worse in China. However everyone, whenever he travels around the world, must be very careful and China is no exception.

    But anyway, thank for information. We will be careful:)

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