A "610" Office Insider Exposes What Goes On In China's Labor Camps
Mr. Han Guangsheng, a former Judicial Bureau Chief and Public Security Bureau Deputy Chief in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, escaped China and sought asylum in Canada in September 2001.
Similar to the recent defections of Mr. Chen Yonglin, a diplomat from the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia, and Mr. Hao Fengjun, a "610" Office official from Tianjin, Mr. Han is also a former official of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who has publicly renounced his membership in the CCP and exposed its illegal operations. During an interview with The Epoch Times, Han Guangsheng disclosed little-known facts about how the "610" offices function.
"610" Offices Really Exist
Reporter: Hao Fengjun has disclosed many facts about the "610" Office, and also the persecution of Falun Gong. The Chinese government denies that the "610" Office exists. What do you know about the situation?
Mr. Han: The "610" Office is real and still exists.
Reporter: Why is it called "610?"
Han: Because it was established as an office of the central government on June 10, 1999. But in other localities, there may be different names like "611", "621," etc, according to the dates of establishment. Basically, their missions and organizations are the same and all are under the direction of the CCP Committee. Their members come from four organizations: the police stations, the prosecutor's office, the courts, and the judiciary, and all are responsible for persecuting Falun Gong. The "610" Offices are above the law and can direct and rule any and all official organization in every region of the country.
Reporter: Using Shenyang City as an example, how does the "610" Office operate?
Han: It's called the "611' Office in Shenyang City and the person in charge is the Deputy Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, who directs all matters about politics and the law. The members are primarily officials from the Party Committee office, and there are also members from the police, the prosecutor's office, the judiciary and the security and civil administration bureaus. The Office often passes on directives from higher-level authorities and arranges missions in Shenyang City. Missions include: capturing Falun Gong practitioners who are on the way to Beijing to appeal, detaining and brainwashing Falun Gong practitioners, and sentencing and sending practitioners to labor camps.
Reporter: How many "610" Office meetings did you participate in and what kind of work did you do? Can you give some examples?
Han: We frequently attended meetings because many county Party Committee members from all regions, and "610" Office staff, have to participate. At that time, the primary mission was to stop Falun Gong practitioners from appealing in Beijing. To deal with this activity, all of the central and regional governments have their own quotas.
"Quotas" to Reward and Punish Officials
Reporter: What is a "Quota?"
Han: A quota means that if three or more Falun Gong practitioners per month make it to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice, the Deputy Secretary or even the Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee would have to go to the provincial capital to participate in self-criticism sessions. To prevent this, as well as to save face and preserve jobs, each city uses a lot of police officers and money to stop Falun Gong practitioners from making it to Beijing.
Reporter: What is Shenyang City's quota?
Han: It's usually three persons. A town mayor was once fired because a Falun Gong practitioner in his town kept arriving in Beijing.
The "610" Office Issues Verbal Orders
Reporter: The CCP denies having an organization such as the "610" Office. Are there any documents concerning Falun Gong issued by the office? For example, does the "610" Office give verbal or written orders?
Han: I do not remember seeing any written documents, but there were talks given by the leaders, which are considered to be as important as documents in China. The leader's speeches provide details about planned events, give directions, and supply notices about some situations. So, most of the time, the orders are passed on verbally.
Reporter: Who, during a meeting, arranges these verbal orders?
Han: It's done in two parts. One, arranged according to region, occurs when the Municipal Party Committee arranges the activity and makes the requests. The other is arranged by specific departments, for instance, Liaoning Province's Judicial Bureau will make requests, plan missions, share information, etc. The work to be done is arranged via meetings and a leader's briefing.
Forced Labor Camps Detain Falun Gong Practitioners
Reporter: What was your specific function?
Han: I had quite a few duties, for instance: doing the legislative work, educating law enforcement officers, managing attorneys, administering public announcements, and managing Shenyang City's jails and forced labor camps. There are four camps in Shenyan and three of them have been used to detain Falun Gong practitioners.
Reporter: At the peak, how many Falun Gong practitioners were imprisoned?
Han: Probably four to five hundred people.
Reporter: When did such detentions start to occur?
Han: The detentions started near the end of 1999, and are still occurring.
Reporter: What orders did you receive in this process? To the best of my knowledge, a forced labor camp is only supposed to detain people convicted of misdemeanors. Why were Falun Gong practitioners detained in the labor camps instead of elsewhere?
Han: Apparently, it was ordered by the central government. Initially, the Public Security and police, but not the judiciary, were involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. That changed when the detention centers and jails could not hold all the people. At that time, I remember that the CCP Committee Deputy Secretary for Shenyang, who was in charge of this area, came to me and requested that I open a forced labor camp to detain Falun Gong practitioners. Originally, the four camps in Shenyang had never imprisoned females, who would be sent to the provincial labor camp or prisons; but this time I was asked to imprison female Falun Gong practitioners.
I stated firmly that I would not do that because the labor camp was supposed to detain felons and not Falun Gong practitioners that I did not consider to be criminals. From the legal standpoint, Falun Gong practitioners had never conducted criminal activities or violated the law, and therefore should not be imprisoned in the camp.
Reporter: From the beginning, you resisted the orders and didn't agree with what was being done?
Han: Right, I didn't agree. Then, the Party Committee Secretary banged his desk with his fist and told me to carry out the orders, saying that he would take responsibility for any problems. I said that I needed to consult with the Judicial Department; so I made a phone call to the Chief of the Liaoning Province Judicial Department. I felt I needed someone with more authority to refute the municipal Party Committee orders.
The chief took the same position as mine, stating that it is not proper to imprison Falun Gong practitioners in a forced labor camp. But in less than a week, the Judicial Department changed its mind and called us in for a meeting, where they requested that we open a facility just for detaining Falun Gong practitioners. I could no longer resist, as I would be considered an inner-Party alien element and severely punished. Hence, I was forced to open the Longshan labor camp to imprison Falun Gong practitioners. But I did as much as I could to take care of Falun Gong practitioners.
Reporter: Some overseas media have reported that, inside forced labor camps, Falun Gong practitioners were frequently verbally abused and beaten, some were even tortured. Did such things occur while you were in charge?
Han: There was a case like that in a camp in my area. A fifteen-year-old girl named Han Tianzi who practiced Falun Gong was discovered by the camp's staff and told to write a statement guaranteeing that she would give up the practice. Because she firmly refused to write such a statement, the staff members, including Bai Suxia (name phonetically rendered), Longhshan's Deputy Director, shocked the girl with electric batons. This incident caused a very strong reaction in the Falun Gong practitioners in the camp, and they went on a hunger strike.
The Mutilation of Gao Rongrong's Face and "Success Rate" at the Masanjia Labor Camp
Reporter: Recently a practitioner named Gao Rongrong's face was disfigured by hours of being shocked with an electric baton. She died on June 16 of this year from repeated torture. Do you think that this really happened? I thought you might know about this because it happened in the Longshan Forced Labor Camp, which was one of the camps under your jurisdiction.
Han: That happened after I left and I later read about her case on the Web. I, too, was extremely shocked after seeing her burned face. I believe such incidents do happen. As far as I knew at the time, the fiercest torturing of Falun Gong practitioners took place at the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in Liaoning Province. Masanjia was not in my jurisdiction and was directly controlled by the Liaoning Province Judicial Department. Many types of tortures were implemented at Masanjia to suppress Falun Gong practitioners and increase the "transformation" rate. In the beginning, I didn't know this was happening.
But later, the Judicial Department asked all cities in the province to go to Masanjia to study its "transformation" techniques. Zhang Xiansheng, the Shenyang Judicial Bureau Deputy Chief in charge of this, went there and upon his return, told me that there was one basic tool used at Masanjia – the electric baton, so we should also use it. I said that's absolutely not allowed and I would not sanction the shocking of Falun Gong practitioners, which I forbade.
During the second half of 2000, the Deputy Chief of Liaoning Province's Judicial Department, who was in charge of "the Falun Gong issue," called me. He requested that ten female Falun Gong practitioners be transferred to our labor camp as the Masanjia camp had been unable to "transform" them.
Reporter: As you just mentioned, Masanjia's transformation rate was high because they used the electric baton. Yet those ten practitioners endured this without being "transformed." Please explain.
Han: Since he was a higher authority, I had to accept the women at my camp. I went to see them one evening after they had arrived. Two ladies were in one room, one surnamed Zhao and the other surnamed Yin. During my long conversation with them, they described the cruel tortures they suffered at Masanjia. For instance: being repeatedly pinched on the tender part of the thigh, being forced to squat for long periods, being forced to do push-ups in cold and snowy weather. In addition to being shocked with the electric baton, there were other similar tortures and maltreatments.
Products Produced By Slave Labor Come From the Camps
Reporter: Outside of China, the response to this topic has been fairly strong. Many countries don't accept products produced by slave labor in their countries. For instance, the U.S. and Canada do not want to accept such products. From both media reports and the information we received, many complaints stated that lots of products produced in the forced labor camps in China were for export. Is there this kind of phenomenon in the labor camps where you were?
Han: Yes, there was. This actually isn't anything new. It's an unresolved problem. It has been raised for many years and yet the situation remains unchanged. China has two issues: firstly, China's penal system is a "transform-through-labor" system where prisoners have to work; secondly, China's jails and forced labor camps are all insufficiently funded and so they depend on the sale of the products they manufacture to make up the shortfall. Hence, all are forced to do some labor work. Some works are foundry type, for instance, making Christmas trees, "teddy bears," little plastic ducks and chickens, things like that. These products are usually made for exporting.
Reporter: Materials are sent to the labor camps and then used by the prisoners to make the products, which are then exported. Are the prisoners being compensated?
Han: The prisoners in a labor camp wouldn't be paid for their work; but some prisons may receive minimal compensation.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Mr. Han Guangshengâs former job title and job responsibility in China. In fact, Mr. Hanâs former title was Judicial Bureau Chief and Public Security Bureau Deputy Chief in Shenyng City, and it was while he held this position that the CCP Committee Deputy Secretary for Shenyang, who was in charge of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, went to him and requested that he open a forced labor camp to detain Falun Gong practitioners. Epoch Times sincerely regrets the error.