Survivor Accounts


Harry Wu is probably the most famous survivor from these camps. He spent 19 years suffering there since he was 23 years old. When he was released he wrote many books on his stay there. Bitter Winds-A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag is a book he wrote in 1994. His books have helped let the world see what really happens to these prisoners and their conditions. Wu is raising concerns around the world so that China can stop being a dictatorial government. He wants to help them have freedom and live their life how they want. He repeatedly goes to China to get more and more information on the camps.
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Harry Wu

Another survivor account is of WU Qian-Fan. He was an educated teenager at 15, but naive. He thought the Communist party would benefit China, not knowing that it would ruin it in the future. Qian-Fan was accepted in the navy of the People's Liberation Army School of Military Cadres but then later was discharged and sent to an army farm. He was a student in the physics department and graduated in 1965. He eventually was malnourished and hospitalized, which is when he realized that the Communism in China was not beneficial at all. "A chance opportunity made it possible for me to read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. The book helped me see through the Chinese communist party. Actually, by its essence the Chinese communist party was no different from Hitler's State Socialist Workers' Party. They even implemented the same means of rule. Only in prison, through reading, did I come to understand the bottom of Chinese society, to see through the essence of the Chinese communist party."

He was harshly criticized in his department, and decided to leave this country he once thought was going in the right direction. While trying to escape, he was caught, arrested, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. After 12 years, he returned to the physics department. In 1980 WU Qian-Fan emigrated from China and in 1987 he became the senior engineer at the Xerox Labratory. WU is one of the few lucky survivors of the Laogai concentration camps. "In the cruel, inhumane environment, where I tried to survive, various people revealed their true colors before my eyes. Thus, I could better understand human beings' virtues and vices, to explore the significance of life and essence of ethics, and to strive for an ideal society."