Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods
The little girl opened the box of Halloween decorations and gave Julie, her mother, folded paper she found inside. It was a letter, pleading for help, the ha ting English spelling interspersed with Chinese characters. Was it fake? Was it a joke in poor taste? Julie treated it seriously. In vain she begged one international aid organization after another to try locating the writer and do something about it. Years later, she learned the story.
Amelia Pang takes this introduction as the starting point for Made in China. a chilling account of prisoners and addicts committed to abusive fifteen-hour working days in Chinese labor camps. Their mandate is to produce gewgaws and holiday accessories and miscellaneous components to enable western customers to buy Chinese-made products at falsely low prices.
When Pang identifies, Sun Yi she chooses him to represent millions of similar victims. She chronicles living conditions for the political and addicted prisoners as repetitive starvation, torture, and minimal medical treatment.
Sun Yi’s crime as a member of Falun Gong was punishable in China, whether recognized as a cult or religion. His family life was threatened and his wife refused to be interviewed for the book.
Pang’s writing is controlled, she neither rants nor over-dramatizes. Her tone suggests ‘Once upon a time…..’ but readers will not view Made in China as a fairytale.
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