Xiong Wei was attracted to the ideas of the Falun Gong spiritual movement whose adherent are found all over the world, but in its Chinese birth place to belong is to soon discover punishment or even jail. The Falun Gong dates only from 1992 when it was founded on principles of “truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.” Her initial crime was to order software which allowed access to the Falun Gong website, an oversight that was soon corrected by police who grabbed her and she soon wound up in prison. After one night in jail, Ms. Wei was sent to the notorious women’s labor camp in Daxing. Her task was packing between 6,000 to 8,000 chop sticks every day. There were penalties for misbehavior.
Fortunately, her case was taken up by prominent Europeans and after two years, Ms. Wei was released and she shortly released herself from life in China. She noted “the guards knew that they couldn’t leave any visible marks of torture on m y body, because it might have gotten international attention.” Unfortunately, for the thousands of others in Chinese labor camps no international groups campaign for their release.
I doubt if I will reach for chop sticks on my next trip to a Chinese restaurant.