Skip to main content
Create interactive lessons using any digital content including wikis with our free sister product
. Get it on the
Pages and Files
9-A Day in the Life
New prisoners of the Laogai system could typically expect for a summons at any moment to be interrogated about their probable reason for arrest. Once summoned they could be put into a tiny room crammed with men, if a prisoner tried to sit up or move they would be reprimanded harshly by a guard. Prisoners would be asked to state their name, age, occupation, and nature of their crime. You would be granted leniency if you confessed and harshness if you resisted. Sometimes prisoners would be shown rooms adjoining to that of their interrogation room. In these rooms there would be things from bodies hanging from rafters, or bodies sprawled on wet floors, you couldn’t tell whether these people were dead or alive. Officers of the Laogai wore red insignias on their badges. In the mornings at about five thirty a duty prisoner would shout for everyone to get up. In groups of five prisoners would shuffle outside stick their hands into a bucket of dirty water splash your face, return to your uilt sleeping space and pay attention to the reeducation of some other duty leaders reading from a Peoples Daily. At ten o’clock a breakfast of two small coarse buns and a ladleful of thin soup with a few lwaves init. At ten thirty you would be shuffled outside to meet in groups for a special team wide meeting. During these times leaders could shout "strip down" which meant that everyone would take off their clothes and check their neighbors for lice. Everyday for about an hour prisoners would be subjected to political instruction. Prisoners would sit down cross-leg, eyes cast downward, and their hands on their knees. Political instruction consisted of the squad leader droning on and on about how it was a necessity of reforming our minds through labor. Some labors included things such as geology fieldwork on the countryside, or working in a brick or chemical factory. After this some prisoners would then go inside for more study on the kang. Everyone would be sent to bed a nine thirty. A sleeping space consisted of a stone floor a measly quilt and a two-foot area. The latrine could only be used in shifts and when prisoners were allowed. The latrine consisted of a cement trough. As you were trusted more and you were given a higher job your living conditions would improve slightly. You would get a crude double-decker wooden pallet bed, three meals a day instead of two, and the ability to walk about the confinements unsupervised a rare freedom. Some prisoners were granted the privilege of writing letters to their families. But some families would denounce prisoners in the laogai systems in order to protect the rest of the family from the retaliations of the country. Most prisoners in laogai camps became obsessed with vage. Many prisoners were abused by the guards who would slap, kick or hit or even spit on prisoners. This way of life is cruel and unjust as well as horrible.
DIARY ENTRIES FOR GROUP NINE
Diary Entry for MARISKA
Day sixty six i woke to the harsh screams of the duty officer calling us to "GET UP", i turned on the worn fadded green quilt i had been given and remember back to my interrogation day . It was raining when they summoned me the sky pith black and lightening danced across the sky. The gaurds escorted me down a hall filled with screams and the stench of rotting flesh. In the room hey had left me in was two dimily lit lightbulbs and a grungy chair. I seemed like i was in there for hours untill the door flew open with a smashthat rverberated through my very soul. About ten people filled ino the tiny room one man presumed to be the interragator started trowing uestions at me without blinking. i dont quite remember what i said but it seemed to sastisfy them. My mind came bak to the shrill shouts of the stout duty officer. it was my groups turn to wash in he filithy rank water. After a breakfast which left me hungry i reported to the eamwide meeting whee we were stripped down and searched for lice and fleas. As my day progressed i was called to the main office in the camp and told that i was to report to the chemical labatory where i wuld begin laboring there. We were called to study in the kang and now it is bed time i write this as the last wisps of sun disappear behinde the vacent fields of dispare and solititude. Sixty six days sine i was brought here another passes by unnoticed by the outside world and unchanged by the in. My spirit is not yet broken...... Just let them try!
Diary Entry for PRIANKIA
Today we are going to the coal mines for 12 hours straight. The mines are the most hazardous to us, but for every cart of coal i get one meal ticket. I try to get as many as possible. I don't understand why they work us these long shifts. Some of the workers say that it's because the CCP wants to make us socialist citizen by labor. So they want us to work hard until we become their ideal socialist citizen. We have to be careful about everything we do, because anything we do that they think is wrong, we could be punished. I count the days until i can leave this prison. I want to see my family and the city. I want to see ordinary life with people that aren't being tortured or forced to work for hours upon hours. We also have to go to these political meeting on socialist ideas. They make us go to these so we can have socialist ideas. Yesterday 3 men i worked in the mines with died for trying to rebel against the guards. They were good men. They all had families that will never know what happened to them. I hope i can survive before my release date. I hope i can get 3 tickets by the end of today, because i am extremely hungry. I havent gotten a meal in 2 days. I have just 3 months until i will be freed from this camp.
Diary Entry for DREW
My name is lan ching I am 13 years old, I am a prisoner of the Low Gi work camp system. I was brought to this place when i was 10 years old. 3 long years has felt like a lifetime behind these walls. I use to be a nice boy full of joy, but over the years of deathtrap and sadness. I have lost all of my feelings. I don't taste food, I don't feel pain. Everyday I wake up from my dirt sack bed, and get to work on pointless tasks that are only apointed so we might have something to do between geting interagated. this whole system of prisons is causeing so mainy people pain, somebody should do something to make it stop. But i've all know that will never happen. so i guess I will just what out my days here, untill i Die.
Diary Entry for CLINT
Today we broke rocks because they didn't have anything else for us to do. This camp is so harsh and I' ve almost ran out of will power to even get up. The guards treat me like I'm not even a human being. Yesterday my cousin who was also brought into this camp was assasinated for treason. All he said was I can't wait to get out of this hell hole. The guard took him away and crushed his skull with a bolder. It seems like they brain wash us. There are accusations that Chinese prisons produce products that are often sold in foreign countries, with the profits going to the PRC government. We have to work for the PRC . Life is extremly hard here. I never thought people could come to such ideas and thoughts. Being beaten for nothing takes away from our innaliable rights, but I guess god given rights don't exist in this pit of garbage they call a camp. Hopefully i will make it out alive unlike my friends, family and strangers alike.
Diary Entry for BRITTNEY
..Or is it eighty-five?
I can’t remember anymore.
I have been moving up in the prison system.
I now receive three meals a day, instead of the normal two.
The officers also started to be a little less cruel to me, compared to the newer prisoners.
Just before my closest friend, Kim, passed away, he told me not to trust my family.
“They will abandon you!” he whispered.
Like most other men, I don’t believe him.
I thought, he doesn’t know my family; they would never do that to me in order to save themselves.
So, I wrote my family a letter.
I didn’t even have a clue that they had written back until yesterday when all of a sudden three officers with red on their badges marched into my tiny, smelly room.
The seven other men I share the room with shivered in the fetal position, frightened that they would be the man taken away.
I lay there on my wooden bed praying that they weren’t coming for me.
The officers grabbed both of my arms and dragged me out of my only place of comfort in the whole prison.
They brought me to a dark, very small room.
I sniffed and by the rotting smell coming from the next room, I knew I was in the interrogation room.
They started yelling at me all at the same time.
I just screamed, “I did not do a thing wrong!
You do not understand!
My family is betraying me!”
I could tell by one officer’s candle-lit face, he was very angry.
The last thing I remember from last night was a punch in the face.
Now, here I am sitting huddled in a cold, wet room with one other injured man.
The only way I can tell how much time has gone by is by the drops of water coming from the ceiling-- drip, drop, drip, drop.
I am very tired.
I will write soon.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"