Saturday, April 13, 2013

Web Sites Censor Articles, Discussion About Abuse at Masanjia Re-education Through Labor Facility

The April 2013 edition of the China-based Lens Magazine included an article entitled "Leaving Masanjia." (走出"马三家") Here is an excerpt from the introduction that was made available to non-subscribers online on April 6:
The re-education through labor system has been around for 57 years, during which time it has been an infection on the carcass of China's legal system that will not heal. Now we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Lens Magazine has turned its focus on the Masanjia Women's Womens Re-Education Through Labor Facility, and through research and interviews with various parties, tries to give readers an overview of how those subjected to re-education through labor live their lives behind those high walls. Its not possible to capture all of the various circumstances in this 20,000 word report, much less the four words "Re-eduction Through Labor." 
In early February 2013, a woman petitioner who had recently been released from re-eduction through labor found Wang Zhen, from Dalian, and passed him a "letter of appeal" written in tiny characters on wrinkled paper. This was an open letter sent from the re-education through labor facility calling for the elimination of re-education through labor, and the signatories included Wang Zhen's wife, Liu Yuling. Liu Yuling had been sentenced to re-education through labor in August, 2012, was still being held at the Masanjia re-education through labor facility in Liaoning. 
长达57年的劳教制度,是中国法治社会躯体上经久不愈的病灶,眼下终于即将走到终点。Lens杂志以辽宁马三家女子劳教所为观察点,根据多条线索、对不同身份者的采访,约略还原劳教人员在高墙内的生活轨迹。个中情形,既非“劳动教养”四字所能概括,也非这组两万多字的报道所可尽言。
2013年2月初,一位新近解除劳动教养的女访民找到大连人王振,交给他一封用蝇头小字写在皱巴巴纸上的“呼吁书”。这是一封从劳教所发出的要求废除劳教公开信,签名者中包括王振的妻子刘玉玲。刘玉玲2012年8月被判劳教,眼下仍在辽宁马三家女子劳动教养所里羁押。
These screenshots show that the introduction, originally available here - http://www.lensmagazine.com.cn/reporting/focus/7607.html - has since been removed from the website.

On April 11, the state-sponsored China Women's Daily published an article entitled "Facing the Truth, Promoting Reform of the Re-education Through Labor System - A Chat With Journalist Yuan Ling, Author of 'Leaving Masanjia'." (直面真相 推动劳教制度改革 对话《走出“马三家”》采写记者袁凌). Some excerpts:
The report reflected how the Masanjia re-education through labor facility illegally accepted those who were severely ill and those who had lost the ability to work, forcing them to perform excessively strenuous work. Petitioners sentenced to re-education through labor are subjected to punishments in mandated by re-education through labor such as "instruction rooms," handcuffs, and electric prods. They are also subjected to things invented at the Masanjia re-education through labor facility, such as handcuff extended to allow for "hanging," "torture racks," and force-feeding and restraining "death beds" for re-education through labor prisoners who go on hunger strike. Things that simply cannot be expressed in just four words: "re-education through labor." 
. . . . 
Reporter: What things left the deepest impression on you in the process of writing the article? 
Yuan Ling: It was the first time I heard a woman re-education through labor prisoner talk about "stretching," "torture racks," and "death beds." At the time she was already crippled, and half her body wouldn't work normally, it was all withered like a tree. But when she talked about her experiences, her eyes just lit up, like she was gaining spiritual support just trying to put it into words. It just so happened that she wasn't from Masanjia, she was from Heilongjiang. Later on I understood that everything she talked about was also happening in the Masanjia re-education through labor facility. That proved that "stretching," "torture racks," and "death beds" weren't unique to the Masanjia re-education through labor facility.  
My meeting with Mei Qiuyu also left a pretty deep impression. She strikes you as very warm, virtuous, and vulnerable southern woman. She is not like your average petitioner, and manages to retain a kind of gentle dignity, despite all of the trials life has thrown at her. She is very attentive, and knows how to pickle vegetables and make tofu. She experienced extreme violence at the re-education through labor facility, and in her you see a woman's delicacy and perseverance. 
Afterwards, I talked on the phone with a prisoner in a Liaoning re-education through labor facility. Her experience was pretty common: "stretching," "instruction rooms," "torture racks," "death beds," it seemed like she had suffered every kind of punishment, and now she's missing one of her front teeth. At the time, one of woman editors overheard a bit of the conversation and stood up and walked out. After the interview was over, she told me the interview was too terrifying, and made her shake with fear. If it had all been written out, there would have been know way anyone could read it all the way through. In fact, the person I was interviewing was also a woman, and at the time we were just calmly discussing some details over the phone. When an ordinary woman is faced with this, she feels extremely terrified, and can't bear it. You can imagine how the things those women experienced in the re-education through labor facilities must weigh very heavily, even as they remain very calm as they describe it. 
Reporter: Those women that you wrote about and met who were imprisoned in the Masanjia re-education through labor facility, what is it that brought them together? 
Yuan Ling: Many of them were petitioners. At the very begining they were all very ordinary. For example, Wang Guilan was a seamstress, and Wang Yuping was a high level businesswoman. They each had their own reasons for petitioning, running up against various circumstances that could not be resolved that led them to petition, and because of their petitioning they were sentenced to re-education through labor. This in turn led to ever deeper feelings of agitation. There are fundamental problems with the petitioning and re-education through labor systems, and this happens against a backdrop of a legal system that is incomplete. Would they need to go out and petition if they were able to use legal channels and get court judgment in a lawsuit that is reasonable and just? Their rights can't be guaranteed. Their lives are changed because of petitioning and re-education through labor. 
报道反映了马三家女子劳教所违规接收严重患病或丧失劳动能力者,被劳教人员在劳教所中超强度劳动。因上访被劳教者遭受见于劳教规定的惩戒室(“小号”)、手铐、电棍等惩戒措施,还遭受马三家劳教所各种名目的发明,如手铐延伸使用的“大挂”、“老虎凳”、对绝食的劳教人员灌食和控制的“死人床”等。个中情形,远非“劳动教养”四字所能传达。
. . . .
记者:在采写的过程中,您印象深刻的事情有哪些?
袁凌:我第一次听到“大挂”“老虎凳”“死人床”是一名女劳教人员说的。当时她已经残废,半边身体已经不正常,就像一棵树的半边已经枯了,但是讲起那些经历时,她的眼睛灼灼发亮,好像有一种精神支撑着,就是想给自己一个说法。她恰恰不是马三家的,是黑龙江的。她所说的我后来在马三家女子劳教所里也了解到,这也说明“大挂”“老虎凳”“死人床”并非马三家女子劳教所独有。
遇到梅秋玉时,我印象比较深。她看上去是一个很温柔、贤惠、柔弱的南方女性。她与一般上访者不同,虽然她被生活打磨的很多,但是身上保留了一种柔美气质。她很细心,会做很多咸菜、豆腐乳。她在劳教所的经历很惨烈,身上体现了女性的柔弱和坚忍。
后来,我在单位电话采访过一名辽宁的劳教人员。她的经历比较典型,“大挂”“小号”“老虎凳”“死人床”,几乎遭受了全套的处罚,现在还缺一颗门牙。当时,旁边一名女编辑听了一会起身走开了。结束采访后,她告诉我,你的采访太可怕了,让人听得心惊肉跳。如果稿件写出来,肯定也看不完。其实,我采访的也是一名女性,当时我们在电话中是很平静地说一些细节。一个正常生活的女性面对这些,会感到非常恐惧,无法承担。可以想见,那些女性在劳教所中的遭遇是需要强大的心理承担的,而且她们在讲述时已经很平静。
记者:您所采写、接触的马三家女子劳教所的女学员,她们是怎样一个群体?
袁凌:她们很多人是上访者。最初她们都是很正常的,例如,王桂兰是做成衣的,王玉萍是高级商业师。她们最初上访都是有原因的,碰到一些莫名其妙的事情解决不了就开始上访,因为上访被劳教,内心的情绪无法平复,越陷越深。信访、劳教制度本身存在问题,背后是法律体系的不健全。如果能够通过法律途径,打官司能得到合理、公正的判决,她们为什么还要去上访呢?她们的权益没有得到保障。她们的人生因为上访、劳教而被改变。
These screenshots show that the article, originally available here - http://www.china-woman.com/rp/main?fid=open&fun=show_news&from=view&nid=93241&ctype=3 - has since been deleted.

This screenshot shows that China Women's Daily deleted its entire April 11 edition from its web site.

The report was also deleted from several other web sites where it was reposted:

These screenshots were taken on April 12, 2013, and show that Baidu has banned users from setting up PostBar (Tieba - 贴吧) forums on "Masanjia" (马三家) and "Re-eduction Through Labor" (劳教).

These screenshots were taken on the same day, and show that searches for "Masanjia" and "Re-education Through Labor Facility" (劳教所) on Tencent Weibo returned no results, just a censorship notice.

This screenshot was taken the same day, and shows that searches on Sina Weibo for "Women's Re-education Through Labor Facility" (女子劳教所) return no results, just a censorship notice.