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New Release

Laogai: The Machinery of Repression - Nicole Kempton, Nan Richardson 2009 In English

An eloquent and vivid summary in shocking, never-before-seen photographs smuggled out of the People Republic of China, LAOGAI exposes the human rights record of the world’s most authoritarian state—a nation whose own remarkable transformation has not extended to the basic demands of its people’s freedom.  

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Civil Awakening -- The Dawn of a Free China - Liu Xiaobo  2010, 2nd Ed. in Chinese, Hardcover, 362 pages, ISBN: 978-1-931550-10-9

In this seminal work, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo explains why he believes China is ripe for democratic reform.  Liu takes the reader through an analysis of the historical conditions of China’s modernization from 1848 to 1949, before confronting the adaptation of Soviet-style Communism.  After the death of Mao Zedong, Liu argues that China has once again started down a path of modernization, but that these reforms will be crippled without political liberalization.  Liu argues that the time for China’s “civil awakening” is now.  The growing struggle between civil rights and government power combined with the reform of property rights and the public’s growing awareness of human rights and civil rights activities presents China with a rare opportunity for reform. Liu calls for non-violent pursuit of freedom, and urges all Chinese intellectuals, domestic and foreign, to do their utmost to expand the gray area of freedom that exists today.  Simultaneously, together with the dissidents within the government, they will gradually diminish the one-party rule and progress towards the democratization of China.

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Posters and Postcards

    Faces of the Laogai PosterPoster: Faces of the Laogai

    Help raise awareness of the Laogai with a commemorative poster from the Laogai Museum.  

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    Faces of the Laogai Postcards (Set of 10)


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    Laogai in Numbers: Forced Labor & Thought Reform in China Poster


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  English Language Works by Harry Wu

Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag (Paperback)
Harry Wu (author), Carolyn Wakeman (author),  Wiley (1994), In Englisn,  290 pages,
ISBN-13: 978-0471114253, Signed by Harry Wu (Online order special)

In April 1960 Chinese Communist authorities arrested Harry Wu. The son of a well-to-do Shanghai banker, he was cast into a Laogai prison labor camp. Though never formally charged or tried, he spent the next 19 years in a hellish netherworld of grueling labor, systematic starvation, and torture. Bitter Winds is the powerful story of Harry Wu’s imprisonment and survival, and of extraordinary acts of courage. In stunning detail, Wu recalls life in the Laogai—scavenging barren fields for frogs and snakes, and engaging in elaborate “food imagining” sessions in the barracks at night. Left for dead in nightmarish solitary confinement, Wu fought back from the brink of insanity, fiercely refusing to relinquish his dignity. A deeply moving story of personal strength, Bitter Winds bears indelible witness to the power of the human spirit. 

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 Laogai Research Foundation Publications

Laogai Handbook 2007-2008 (Paperback)
LRF, 2008,  In English & Chinese, 561 pages, ISBN-13:978-1-931550-25-3

The Laogai Handbook, published bi-annually and now in its tenth edition, is the world’s only independent and publicly available catalog of China’s Laogai, the most extensive and covert network of forced labor camps in the world. The Chinese government considers statistics on the Laogai to be sState secrets, but the Laogai is a difficult secret to keep. LRF’s research for the Laogai Handbook is made possible by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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Re-education Through Labor and Forced Job Placement, edited by LRF, 2004, In Chinese

A detailed examination of two extra-judicial detention systems in China: Laojiao (Re-education through labor) and Jiuye (Forced Job Placement). Both systems allow prisoners to be detained for years without charge.



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Better Ten Graves than One Extra Birth: China’s Systemic Use of Coercion to Meet

Population Quotas, In English & Chinese

Better Ten Graves describes the grim realities of China’s population control policy, which remains in effect today. Through research, documentation, and personal narratives, it details how China’s vast family planning bureaucracy strictly controls the reproductive choices of each and every Chinese woman.


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Charter 08 and China's Transformation, China Information Center, 2009 In Chinese On December 8, 2008, a bold group of Chinese intellectuals drafted Charter 08, a document demanding that the Chinese Communist Party initiate democratic reforms. It was the most significant call for government reform in China since the Tiananmen Square Movement in 1989. Since its initial publication, Charter 08 has been signed by more than 8,000 Chinese citizens. Communist authorities have retaliated harshly against those who drafted and signed the document; many were interrogated, had their homes searched, and were placed under surveillance. The architect of Charter 08, noted author and philosopher Liu Xiaobo, has been unlawfully imprisoned for his authorship of this groundbreaking document. This book is a collection of essays dating from December 2008 to April 2009 written by some of the most renowned democracy advocates affiliated with Charter 08.


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Civil Awakening: The Dawn of a Free China, Liu Xiaobo, 2005, In Chinese

Renowned Chinese author Liu Xiaobo's book contains a compilation of articles penned by Liu in recent years on political, economic and social issues. Liu, who is a dissident writer and independent thinker kept under house arrest since December 8th 2008, asserts that China already possesses the conditions necessary to carry out political reform, as awareness of civil rights grows, official power shrinks and netizens promote human rights in ever-increasing numbers.


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Sorry to Be Born Chinese, Yu Jie, 2008, In Chinese


The essays of this young, Beijing-based author offer a  trenchant analysis of the misguided and inconsistent policies and practices that shape China’s bizarre and motley educational and cultural landscapes.


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  Black Series 

 (Buy the entire series for $400, $501 if bought separately)

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   I Shed My Blood to Color My Country, Xu Wenli, 2001 In Chinese

An extraordinary autobiography of Chinese Democratic Party (CDP) founder Xu Wenli. A participant in the Beijing Spring movement, Xu was arrested in 1981 for creating the April Fifth Forum, a small publication. I Shed My Blood contains a collection of Xu’s prison poetry and political essays. Xu was arrested again in 2002. He is now a scholar at Brown University.


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   A Glimpse of Sorrowful Years, Chen Wenli, 2002 In Chinese

Chen Wenli grew up in a well-to-do, Westernized family. After graduating from high school in the 1950s, he joined the PLA and performed executions. During the Cultural Revolution, Chen was sentenced to 15 years for listening to foreign radio broadcasts. In jail, he was forced to make false confessions to avoid execution.



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   Forty Years in China's Inferno, Cheng Zhonghe, 2002 In Chinese

Cheng Zhonghe, a former KMT army officer, served twenty years in China’s prison system and ten years in a forced job placement camp. His autobiography offers a vivid account and detailed description of life in Chinese prisons—from guards to administrators to prisoners of all kinds bound by the same fate: to toil daily in hard labor and to find happiness in the face of adversity.


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   Fire Under the Snow, Palden Gyatso, 2003 In Chinese

LRF presents the Chinese translation of Palden Gyatso’s autobiography. Gyatso was arrested in 1959 after taking part in a non-violent demonstration for Tibetan independence. After a failed escape bid, he was starved and tortured. Following his release in 1992, after 33 years of captivity, he fled to India and began to reveal the true extent of Chinese oppression in Tibet.



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   Difficult Years, Wenche He'en, 2003 In Chinese

Author Wenche He’en was born into a prominent Manchurian family and took part in the 1947 student movement opposing the Chinese Civil War before joining the People’s Liberation Army. After graduating from a Shanghai acting college in 1957, Wenche was falsely denounced as a rightist in 1958 and spent nearly 20 years in the Laogai. Difficult Years is a tale of survival, told with wit and humor.


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   Thunderstorm in the Night, Harry Wu, 2003 In Chinese

Harry Wu, author of Laogai: The Chinese Gulag (1992), Bitter Winds (1994), and Troublemaker (1996), presents his first-ever Chinese language book, an autobiography that spans his entire life, including his controversial imprisonment in 1995. According to Wu, during his 19 years in China’s Laogai, “I went through an era of cultural self-destruction, an era when humanity disappeared. This was a time when lies and rumors were regarded as truth.”


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   The Everlasting Beidahuang, Huang Zhan, 2004 In Chinese

Huang Zhan was arrested after the Communists took power in 1949 and sentenced to 15 years in the Laogai in the remote northeast area of Beidahuang. During his time there, he escaped death numerous times - narrowly escaping a death sentence, living through a terrible famine, and surviving blizzards and encounters with wild animals. Huang was not truly freed until 1979.



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   The Imprisoned Poet, Shang Jianguo, 2004 In Chinese

Shang Jianguo is a Chinese poet and editor who was sent to prison in 1993 on charges of economic crimes. During his nine years in prison, he put to paper a detailed, insightful account of the bureaucracy and corruption in court and in prison, as well as the inhumane treatment of prisoners. His arresting account provides the outside world with an insightful window into the true nature of China’s current legal and penal systems.


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   Red Dust and White Waves, Ye Shaohua, 2004 In Chinese

Ye Shaohua was accused of “collaborating with overseas enemies” after expressing his wish to travel overseas and unite with family members in a letter sent to a relative in the U.S. Ye was labeled a “counterrevolutionary” and sentenced to 15 years in the Laogai. In this book, Ye describes the cruel treatment he endured in Laogai camps in Hainan and Hubei provinces, treatment which became worse after his three failed attempts at escape.


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   My Three and a Half Slaves and I, Min Heshun, 2005

In Chinese University professor Min Heshun was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “counterrevolutionary incitement” after taking part in the 1989 Tiananmen protests. While in prison, he took a sociologist’s investigative approach to his experience, gathering materials and making observations in preparation for writing a book. My Three and a Half Slaves and I is the first in what is to be a three-part series of books regarding his imprisonment.


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   Broken Dreams at Weiming Lake, Chen Fengxiao, 2005 In Chinese

Beijing University graduate and author Chen Fengxiao spent 15 years in the Laogai after being convicted as a “counterrevolutionary rightist” at the age of 22. Chen, who survived many brushes with death in the Laogai, has tried to suppress the terrible memories of his imprisonment, but with this book he has once again taken up his pen to record the social ugliness and evil under the despotic rule of Mao Zedong                                         


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   In the Red Ocean I Remember, Zeng Shirong, 2006 In Chinese
Author Zeng Shirong was born in 1938 in Guangdong Province to a family categorized as “rich farmers” by the Communist Party. As a child, Zeng endured violent land reform campaigns as well as the campaign to “suppress counterrevolutionaries,” and he witnessed mass murder and famine during the Great Leap Forward. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for writing a letter to the Kuomintang Nationalist Party in Taiwan describing his persecution. This book gives a vivid description of the devastating early years of Communist Party rule such as Land Reform, the Anti-Rightist Campaign and the “Four Clean-ups” Movement. 


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   The Voice that Remembers, Ama Adhe, 2006 In Chinese
Ama Adhe was born in 1932 in Nyarong town in the Kang area of Tibet (today Xinlong County in Sichuan Province). She and her family suffered greatly during the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet. While fighting in the resistance movement, Adhe lost her father, husband, son, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and other relatives. She spent nearly 30 years prison where she was often tortured and almost died several times. Yet, despite Adhe’s past hardships, she has remained a person full of integrity, kindness, and tolerance.


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   China's Number One Crime, Qin Geng, 2006 In Chinese

Qin Geng was imprisoned for political reasons during the June 4th Democracy Movement in 1989. His book is a first-hand account of prison life with a unique voice. He recounts his experiences as a person considered to be on the bottom rung of society with a humorous yet compassionate tone. There are no heroes, no dramatic stories of bloodshed and tears, just a realistic reportage of everyday prison life in China.


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     China's Bastille, Li Guiren, 2007 In Chinese

Li Guiren is an activist imprisoned for participating in the June 4th Democracy Movement in Tiananmen Square. He received a five-year sentence after the crackdown on the movement. This book, in which Li equates China’s prison system to a modern-day Bastille, is not only an account of his prison experiences but also includes many of his literary essays and commentaries.


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   My Fall from Leningrad University to Xinzhao Prison, Zhang Yidong, 2007 In Chinese
Zhang, a young and promising Chinese doctoral student studying in St. Petersburg, had just married a Russian girl whom he loved. However, they were forced to separate in 1957 when the “Anti-Rightist Movement” began in China and he was called back to his homeland. Soon after, Zhang’s dreams of scholarly pursuits and of love quickly faded. After teaching Russian at a middle school for a decade during the Cultural Revolution, he was accused of being a “counterrevolutionary” and sentenced to 20 years in prison. His experiences represent the hardships endured by regular citizens during Mao’s cruel campaigns.


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   My Turbulent Life and Times at Beijing University, Wang Shuyao, 2007 In Chinese
For 21 years Wang suffered in prison camps, guilty of being a “rightist” during the government’s Anti-Right Campaign in 1957. His fascinating story describes how his participation in the student led “May 19th Movement” at Beijing University immediately made him a target of the crackdown. Wang was finally arrested after he published an article criticizing the Communist Party and warning that Stalinism could also occur in China. Today the author still resides in Beijing; he is a retired economist and tax specialist.


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   A Bittersweet Life for an American Chinese, Peter Tang, 2007 In Chinese

Imprisoned for 15 years, Tang recounts how as a shipbuilding student he was falsely accused of being a part of a group of young men who planned to flee China. In the Laogai he was forced to work in quarries, a grueling and difficult task. In 1979 Tang was rehabilitated and came to the US. Working many menial jobs to survive, including a stint as a butler, chauffeur, and cook for an American family, Tang was determined to lead a fulfilling life without political persecution.


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   The Tragedy at Jiabiangou, Xu Zhao, 2008 In Chinese

During the “Anti-Rightist Campaign,” over 3,000 members of the intelligentsia in Gansu Province were sent to Jiabiangou Laogai Farm, 80% of whom perished from hunger and exhaustion. Their remains were left in the desert and have never been found. The author interviewed some of the survivors over the course of two decades.


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   My Life as a Pawn in Mao’s Political Game, Hu Xianzhong, 2008 In Chinese

When he was a young student, Hu Xianzhong proclaimed the innocence of condemned “rightist” Hu Feng, for which he was subsequently labeled a member of the “Hu Feng Anti-Party Clique” and sent to the Laogai for 23 years. Having been “rehabilitated” in 1980, Mr. Hu, now a retired economist, continues to live in China.


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   Tear Drops from the Land of Snow Ghang Lhamo 2009 In Chinese

This work tells the story of a female Tibetan university student who was kidnapped and thrown into a detention center by Chinese police, where she was tortured and accused of politically “deluding” others. After serving three years in prison, Ghang Lhamo worked as a teacher in an orphanage before later fleeing to Dharamsala, where she lives and works today.


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   Meditations, Essays by Yang Zili Yang Zili, 2009 In Chinese

In 2003, eight young people formed an informal study group in Beijing to discuss the possibility of democratic reforms in China. For this, they were later arrested and accused of “inciting the subversion of State power.” Four members of the group were convicted and received sentences ranging from eight and ten years in prison. One of them, Yang Zili, was released in March 2009 after serving eight years. This book is a collection of his articles, most of which were written before he was imprisoned. In his writings, Yang reflects on the social and political problems that China has been faced with over the last two decades owing to the turbulence of its rapid economic reforms.  

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