Home Pop Culture Authentic? Chinese Labor camp worker sends plea for help in Halloween decorations.

Authentic? Chinese Labor camp worker sends plea for help in Halloween decorations.

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Julie Keith letter
Julie Keith letter
Julie Keith letter
Julie Keith letter

Desperate message in a bottle…

Julie Keith of Damascus, Oregon got the surprise of a lifetime after opening a year old pack of Halloween decorations from Kmart.

huffpo: “If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization,” the letter, which Keith posted to Facebook, begins. It goes on to detail the harsh working conditions at a labor camp in Shenyang, China, and the description matches those common to what are officially known as re-education through labor camps in China, Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, told The Oregonian.

And how has Kmart responded to the above incident you wonder?

Sears Holdings has a Global Compliance Program which helps to ensure that vendors and factories producing merchandise for our company adhere to specific Program Requirements, and all local laws pertaining to employment standards and workplace practices. Failure to comply with any of the Program Requirements, including the use of forced labor, may result in a loss of business or factory termination. We understand the seriousness of this allegation, and will continue to investigate.”

The plea goes on to talk about the onerous working conditions and how laborers only make 10 yuan per month, the equivalent of $1.61.

Asked to comment on the letter’s authenticity (largely written in both English and Chinese which might be strange considering that most Chinese people, let alone factory workers are able to speak English), Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch confessed that she could not confirm whether the letter was real or not.

‘We’re in no position to confirm the veracity or origin of this,‘ she said. ‘I think it is fair to say the conditions described in the letter certainly conform to what we know about conditions in re-education through labor camps.’

Which might be another way of saying does it really matter if the letter is real? Perhaps what’s more questionable is why and how such oppressive working conditions exist and why for that matter the Chinese government, the US government and for that matter US retailers like Sears/Kmart essentially sanction it despite ‘polite’ declarations of how it condemns such practices.

Then again why necessarily blame stores like Sears and other budget stores when consumer’s increasingly demand inexpensive consumer staples? Then again that may be because the US worker in their own way is also suffering to deal with their lot as well if one takes an honest survey of harsh economic conditions that force many to cut corners to barely stay afloat.

As an aside should the letter turn out to be real, there may actually be legitimate concern for the actual sender who may face punitive or other onerous punishment for bringing attention to ‘his’ master’s economic machine. So much for working capitalism…

Then there was this comment too that caught my attention as well:

Karl Marx was funded by the RICHEST men in europe,they paid for the spread of COMMUNISM because under such a system the working and middle class are destroyed leaving only the RICH untouched. Why else do you think that the RICHEST men on Wall Street went to Russia in 1917 and supported the rise of Lenin and then Stalin? A docile,obedient slave like working class is the dream of ALL capitalists,why else do you think they would spend so much time moving our jobs to China and Russia? Can you all be that dim that you still believe Capitalism is the enemy of Communism? If this were so then WHY have so many top capitalists spent so much money investing in Communist nations? Without Western finance Communism would NEVER have been born nor survived as long as it did.

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  • LlamaLlamaDingDong

    Many of my customers are from China and even though they have lived here in the US for decades, their handwriting is no where near as clear and fluent as what you see here. I’m not saying that it’s not possible, I’m just highly skeptical.

  • BobbyWong

    This note is fake for the following reasons:

    – The paper it’s written on is from a shool workbook common for Chinese schools in US but not Chinese gulag jail (bottom is printed “Score”, “Parent Signature”.)
    – English is too good, despite of attempts to hide it (Chinese people don’t use colloquialism like “totally”), the cursive hand writing fluency.
    – It’s full of Falun Gong speak, which is a huge red flag.

  • Oppression, you keep using that word, and I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • Life Sucks and then you Die

    In America, people torture themselves with meth, crack, heroin, cigs, etc before they join the “27 Club”. Or, they get shoved into the subway tracks and die an untimely death. Oppression is everywhere.