Nowhere in the article is it explained why using prison labor to produce goods for export is objectionable. Is it because the prisoners are being used as a source of cheap labor and are having their rights violated? But the average Chinese earns less than a dollar a day anyway; they are all cheap labor!
The question posed by Rep. Wolf ("How would the average American feel to learn that he was wearing socks made by a Tian An Men demonstrator?") simply confuses the issues. Of course the average American is saddened by the imprisonment of those demonstrators. Likewise with the description of the conditions under which Chui Feng worked. These are quite different issues than the question of whether the Chinese should use prison labor to produce goods. What is really at stake is money. American businessmen stand to lose money as cheaply produced Chinese exports flood this country. Focusing on the manner in which Chinese goods are produced is nothing but a transparent attempt to cloak a basically economic concern in moral terms.
RONG R. WANG
Jeff Greenwald replies: Asia Watch explains the objection to the laogai-dui this way: "In human-rights terms, prison labor per se is not necessarily abusive.... In the case of China, however, prison labor has an extremely abusive character."