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Luo Gan Praised Masanjia for Forced Brainwashing of Falun Gong

[Editor’s Note: On April 6, an article in Lens Magazine, known for its photography, detailed torture implements with names like the "Tiger Bench" and the "Death Bed" that were used against prisoners in the Masanjia Forced Labor Camp. It immediately triggered an online outcry from hundreds of thousands, furious at the authorities for what the article depicted. The piece was quickly deleted from web portals. The article mentioned that the tortures were initially implemented upon "special groups," while not specifying the name of the group. It’s widely believed that the group refers to Falun Gong, a meditation practice suppressed by the authorities since 1999. The following is an excerpt from one of the documents obtained by Chinascope, showing that the Party was advocating labor camps to transform Falun Gong practitioners.

On August 29, 2000 Luo Gan, former Director of the Politics and Law Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the head of the "610 Office," an organization formed on June 10, 1999, specifically to suppress Falun Gong, gave a speech at the Experience-Exchange and Commendation Conference on [Thought] Transformation Work held by the Ministry of Justice. Luo praised how the Masanjia Labor Camp helped in the forced transformation of Falun Gong practitioners. Below is an excerpt from his speech:]

“The Ministry of Justice held this Experience-Exchanging and Commendation Conference on [Thought] Transformation [in order to] sum up the experience of transforming the Falun Gong members held in the labor camps and to study and implement the hard battle of transformation work. It will have an important and positive effect on further carrying out Jiang Zemin’s important instructions on how to handle the issue of Falun Gong and completely win the battle [against Falun Gong]. … I am giving the following comments for your reference.”

1. “We should fully affirm the role that the labor camps in the justice system have played in [thought] transformation.”

“Since October of last year, labor camps in all provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) throughout the country except for Tibet have held inmates of ‘Falun Gong’ in large numbers so they could be transformed. This is completely new and very hard work that the labor camps have never encountered. It is because, since the founding of our country, it is the first time that we have had to combat and transform members using labor camps on such a large scale. Party leaders at the Ministry of Justice have attached great importance to this serious political struggle and have strengthened its leadership. Throughout the country, the re-education through labor departments (labor camps and administrative bodies) have made careful arrangements, acted swiftly from the political level and with a high sense of responsibility, have dived into the transformation of ‘Falun Gong’ inmates, and have given full play to the advantages of the labor camp system. … I remember from a Ministry of Justice document dated May 31 [2000] that the success rate of transformation at Liaoning Masanjia Labor Camp is 75 percent. As of the start of this conference, the documents issued by the ‘610 Office’ show that the success rate has reached 90 percent. The success rate is gradually increasing.”

Due to everyone’s efforts, it has ensured the successful completion of the task in the labor camp and … has developed a set of examples for those who have become a force assisting in the [transformation] work. I saw from the materials submitted by the Ministry of Justice that these transformed inmates have played a good role in assisting in the work of transforming [other] ‘Falun Gong’ members. There has been some preliminarily exploration of the means to transform ‘Falun Gong’ members and [we have] accumulated experience for the long-term fight against ‘Falun Gong.’ I have reviewed a lot of briefings and reports by the Ministry of Justice in this regard, such as when to implement centralized management and when to implement decentralize management; experiences on how to create an atmosphere for transformation; experience on how to build up examples of transformed inmates; and experience on how to prevent regression. All of these have an important reference value for our long-term success with transformation work in the future. It can be said that the experience did not come easily. In particular, you have achieved good results in the transformation of senior intellectuals, which is worth reviewing and summarizing. Masanjia Labor Camp held Associate Professor xxx, who is a senior intellectual; the Dalian City successfully transformed two PhD candidates; the Beijing Reeducation through Labor Bureau detained nine Falun Gong members from the central government departments, including PhDs and some with Masters degrees; most of them are highly educated. I hope the justice departments can further summarize lessons learned from the transformed examples for references and guidance for our future work on the diehard ‘Falun Gong.’ Our practice has proved that transformation of ‘Falun Gong’ using labor camps is successful. Transformation through labor camps is a more severe form of administrative punishment. It has a unique role in transforming ‘Falun Gong’ inmates, because in the labor camps, ‘Falun Gong’ inmates are cut off from contact with ‘Falun Gong’ members in the society, thus reducing any interference with their minds; the strict management system and the control methods in the labor camps are helpful [in the transformation]. The labor camp system has a professional transformation team. Their contribution to the transformation must be recognized. This time the advanced collectives and advanced individuals that we are recognizing at the conference are the representatives in this regard.”

2. “To further enhance the sense of mission and responsibility, [we must] have a profound understanding of the importance and enormity of the transformation work”

“Why does the central government stress the importance of transforming ‘Falun Gong’ practitioners? First of all, this is mandated by the nature of our Party and the nature of socialism. To transform those ‘Falun Gong’ practitioners who are not yet transformed is a specific action to conscientiously implement General Secretary Jiang Zemin’s important speech at the central ideological and political work conference. I have already talked about this. This ideological work is quite difficult because it is different from the normal ideological and political work. … The labor camp system is an important battlefield to use to educate and transform the ‘Falun Gong’ diehards.”

“For a period of time, the number of inmates sent to labor camps may increase. Also, because ‘Falun Gong’ [members] are hard to transform and may go back to Falun Gong even after being transformed, transformed inmates are prone to remission. The response from society will also affect remissions within the labor camps. In order to prevent those transformed Falun Gong members who are released from returning to Falun Gong again, you can also consider establishing a system so that the labor camps can communicate with the work units on a regular basis.”

3. “Party committees and governments at all levels should make it a high priority to strengthen transformation work and emphasize supporting the work of the labor camps.”

“Our struggle with ‘Falun Gong’ is a long-term, intense, and complex one. Transformation work is of great significance.”

“The administration of the justice system at all levels of the re-education through labor departments should also report to the local Party committees and governments at all levels in order to obtain strong support. To transform ‘Falun Gong’ through labor camps is an important part of the transformation work of the whole society. The work units of the inmates should actively cooperate with the labor camp system to work on these transformations and must not think that the work is over after sending them to the labor camp. After ‘Falun Gong’ inmates receive leniency or are released after serving full terms, the original work units and street committees should cooperate well.”