The term Laogai, which is a Chinese word that means "reform through labor," was modeled after the Soviet Gulags and was established in the early 1950s to maintain control over the Chinese population and suppress dissent. Currently, between three and five million prisoners are incarcerated in over a thousand Laogai camps that are scattered throughout China. However, the Laogai system serves a much larger purpose than merely detaining and rehabilitating convicts and dissidents; it is also a source of profit for the Chinese government. The system is powered by unpaid prisoners who work in prison-run factories, farms, workshops, and mines, allowing these businesses to generate substantial profits without incurring labor costs.
Since the 1980s, the Chinese government has also been involved in the harvesting of prisoners' organs, which is typically done for profit. This heinous practice has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Prisoners are used as live organ donors, and their organs can be harvested immediately upon execution when necessary. However, involuntary organ donation is prohibited under Chinese law and is contrary to Chinese cultural and traditional values, which place significant importance on the kidney and heart as symbols of life affirmation.
Despite the illegality of involuntary organ donation in China, reports suggest that the government continues to exploit prisoners for their organs. This practice has sparked widespread condemnation from human rights organizations and the international community, who have called for an end to this gross violation of human rights. The Chinese government has responded by denying these allegations and insisting that it has taken steps to eradicate the practice of forced organ harvesting. However, given the lack of transparency and accountability in the Laogai system, it is difficult to verify these claims, and concerns over the treatment of prisoners continue to persist.