China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

May 26, 2011 -

According to a report in UK-based paper The Guardian, China has been using its prison population as slave labor.. in MMORPG's. According to the report, prisoners were put to work breaking rocks and digging trenches in in the coalmines of Northern China. By night prisoners would be forced to play MMORPG's to earn virtual currency, which guards would trade for real-world money.

One prisoner, who served three years at the Jixi labor camp for pointing out corruption in his hometown, described the conditions at the camp in startling detail. Liu Dali told the paper that prisoners were forced to play online games to enrich the guards of the prison. The 54-year-old was a former prison guard who made the mistake of "illegally petitioning" the central government about corruption in his hometown in 2004. Dali says that the online slave labor is probably more lucrative than the physical labor that prisoners are forced to do.

"Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labor," Liu told the Guardian. "There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb a day. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off."

The camp is a re-education facility that uses hard labor to teach prisoners the error of their ways. Dali says that memories of his time there still haunt him. Other "activities" he and other prisoners were forced to take part in included carving chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood until his hands were raw, and assembling car seat covers that the prison exported to South Korea and Japan. He said that he was also made to memorize communist literature to pay off his debt to society.

But of all those activities, the online gaming was the most mentally taxing work. While the grind may have seemed fake or surreal to prisoners, falling behind in these virtual worlds brought real-world punishment.

"If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things," he said.

It is estimated that 80 percent of all gold farmers are in China. While the central government issued a directive making it illegal for businesses without licenses to trade in 2009, Dali believes that the practice of using prisoners is still widespread because these places are run by the government.

"Many prisons across the north-east of China also forced inmates to play games. It must still be happening," he said.

"China is the factory of virtual goods," said Jin Ge, a researcher from the University of California San Diego. "You would see some exploitation where employers would make workers play 12 hours a day. They would have no rest through the year. These are not just problems for this industry but they are general social problems. The pay is better than what they would get for working in a factory. It's very different."

"Prison labor is still very widespread – it's just that goods travel a much more complex route to come to the US these days. And it is not illegal to export prison goods to Europe," said Nicole Kempton from the Laogai foundation, a Washington-based group which opposes the forced labor camp system in China.

Liu Dali's name was changed to protect him from retaliation by prison officials and the government.

Source: The Guardian


Comments

Re: China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

I'm not anywhere near as surprised by this as I'd like to be.  In fact, this story explains a great deal.

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

Re: China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

I won't lie. I lol'd.

Re: China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

There's an argument for not buying gold I can get behind, same as when you buy illegal drugs you support organized crime.

-Austin from Oregon

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WonderkarpAnd the GamerGate Girls Huffington Post Video should have been on this site weeks ago http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/female-gamers-gamergate_n_5990310.html11/21/2014 - 12:46pm
Wonderkarpits not getting dropped, Monte. Its become a defiant cry in the face of adversity and lies11/21/2014 - 12:42pm
Wonderkarphttp://press.gamergate.me/dossier/ The GamerGate Press Site. All the Information and Evidence that supports their arguments and goals. This is the 5th time I've posted this.11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
MonteIts why i feel that they would be better off dropping the gamergate tag. The tag is far to tainted and they attract the anti-fem trolls. Find a new tag, loose the baggage and then you can have a discussion on journalism free of distractions11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
WonderkarpGG got together and put together a press site that contains all their evidence and arguements in a single easy FAQ. I've posted it here many times to silence.11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
MonteIt does seem like GG spends more time trying to defned itself from accusations than actually talking about journalism; hence one reason why they keep coming back to the topic of feminists despite them having nearly nothing to do with gaming journalism11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
Wonderkarpwhat do you mean "Their own fault"? are you saying its Gamergates fault that the 11 dead gamer articles were written? that it was GamerGates fault when they got together to cry out that they were shouted down by louder megaphones?11/21/2014 - 12:35pm
NeenekoThere is unity of attack, and unity of defense, but not of message or identity. Which the group's own defensiveness has blinded to them since it is chalked up to 'media is out to get us' as opposed to their own fault.11/21/2014 - 12:10pm
NeenekoOh unity I will give you, it is one of the group's weakest points.11/21/2014 - 12:07pm
WonderkarpI dont think so. There's a lot of Unity in Gamergate. OPSkynet has only strengthend the group and brought people together. and I spent a couple months "Gorillas in the Mist"ing the group11/21/2014 - 11:54am
NeenekoYou might be a bit too deep in that trench then if you are missing the other factions.11/21/2014 - 11:51am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/21/sunset-overdrive-free-this-saturday/ Sunset Overdrive free on the XBO tomorrow only.11/21/2014 - 11:43am
Wonderkarpthere also arent "Various Factions" in GamerGate. No Harrassment has been linked directly too GamerGate. I'm deep in the trenchs and there arent any factions.11/21/2014 - 11:38am
NeenekoI would disagree that it has 'never been the case', for various factions perhaps not, but what made GG blow up was the intersection between submerged issues, and that is one of them.11/21/2014 - 11:33am
Neeneko@Zippy - to a point, but consumers also tend to like what they are already comfortable with, so tropes in general tend to have a comforting feel. Just like mechanics and controls tend to be similiar.11/21/2014 - 11:31am
ZippyDSMleeAren't most sexiest tropes jsut cheap/poor creativity more so than pure markaibility?11/21/2014 - 11:19am
Wonderkarpbut some people have been successfull in drawing attention too themselves to steer the conversation from ethics in journalism to women in gaming when that has never been the case.11/21/2014 - 11:17am
WonderkarpZachary, not really. the Quinn story was just more gas to a ready to burn fire. If it wasnt her, it would have been some other scandal just waiting to happen. Just look at Doritosgate. It was the 11 Dead Gamer articles that threw the match in the fire.11/21/2014 - 11:16am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/11/21/7258775/ubisoft-suggests-assassins-creed-unity-players-remove-all-game Ubisoft suggests Assassin's Creed Unity players remove all game contacts to prevent crashes -Facepalm-11/21/2014 - 10:56am
E. Zachary KnightWonderkarp, That may not be an issue with you and the faction of gamergate you associate with, but it was and still is a strong influence on gamergate and its founding.11/21/2014 - 10:12am
 

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