The Corruption Behind the Illegal Brick Kiln Scandal

The famous Beijing opera character Su San in "Su San Qi Jie" sang: "There are no good people in Hongtong County." After this song Hongtong County was forever cursed with this dark image. Today, this line is repeated again and again ito the Chinese people, often in tandem with the explanation: "The Hongtong County in the ancient opera referred to the government of Hongtong County, not the common people. It referred to the corruption of the government officials." The subject of this article is about the enslavement scandal in Hongtong County, Shanxi Province.

A group of children between the ages of eight and 16 worked in the illegal brick kilns moving bricks. They had to work well over 10 hours per day. The slightest relaxation would have invited sticks and kicks on the part of the overseers. Some kids were beaten so severely by the overseers that they suffered a mental collapse or died. The children's faces and hair were dirty and messy and some were still wearing torn school uniforms covered with dust and mud. They worked for over 14 hours each day but were not provided with enough food. Sometimes when they were overly tired and wanted to rest for a bit, the overseer would pick up a brick and hit them in the head, causing a bleeding wound. Then the kids would be given a piece of cloth to wrap their wounds and be forced to go back to work. Punches and beatings were everyday occurrences. Some of the children were injured when the thugs hired by the kiln owner beat them, but they could not get any medical treatment. If the injuries did not heal on their own, or if the children's health deteriorated, the kidnapped laborers would be buried alive when they were at the brink of death by the heartless owner and overseers .

These kids had not taken a bath for months. Their bodies were covered with flaking skin like psoriasis. The youngest was only eight years old. An eight-year-old child could be so obedient and could take on such heavy labor every day, just in order to get a day's meal. When these laborers were rescued, they had black and blue bruises all over their bodies. They had been deprived of their freedom and had been watched by thug-like overseers day and night.

These modern-day slaves lived lives that were worse than death. Their lives were viewed as of less worth than animals. This incident has enraged the Chinese people. For most people, it was unbelievable that such cruelty could be happening among us. Actually, it is no surprise that such things happen in a so-called "harmonious" society where people will do anything to pursue economic gains.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) now admits that problems come from dereliction of duty by local government offices and the collusion of local powers such as the local police units, creating a protective umbrella for the corrupt officials. Of course, "a few people breaking the law" are always blamed for the crimes while the Party is still referred to as "great, glorious, and correct." This is one of the tactics the CCP has been using for decades.

As for the reasons behind this atrocity, let us not forget that, other than the greed and inhumanity of the illegal kiln owners, the acquiescence and cooperation of the "government officials" as well as the system, to lie to and conceal information from the public, which the CCP has perpetuated for decades, creates a breeding ground for such a tragedy. It has been disclosed now that the owner of the illegal kilns is the son of the Party secretary of the village. A parent of a missing child said that most illegal kilns had to pay thousands of dollars in "protection fees" to the local police units. "If protection fees weren't paid, how come the police did not let us bring back the kidnapped kids?"

The illegal kilns are not simply a product of the environment in Hongtong County. Their direct motive is money. What would happen if there were even bigger gains available? For example, what if they could exploit thousands or even millions of yuan out of each slave laborer? What if the culprit was not just the son of a mere village Party secretary, but was one who had connections in the Central Political Bureau of the CCP, and its powers could extend to not just the local police units but rather to the central Police Bureau? Would they not create even bigger and more cruel tragedies? Furthermore, what would have happened if the criminals had support from the entire propaganda system of the country, which falsely accused these slave laborers as being "maniacs" that were "anti-human, anti-society and anti-science" so that the thugs were allowed to torment these slave laborers without mercy or scruples? What if they also had full cooperation from the legal system so that the wrongdoers would receive no punishment even if their wrongdoings were exposed?

Maybe these kinds of assumptions make people shudder. Maybe people would say that this was just to challenge readers' imaginations. Unfortunately, it is not. What I am describing is the scandal of the Party's prisons, forced labor camps, and 610 Office colluding with hospitals to harvest organs from living Falun Gong practitioners for profit since 2001. The power and protection behind the scandal is the gang of Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, and Zeng Qinghong.

Some might wonder, "How could the organ harvesting scandal be covered up for so long?" Let me remind you that the illegal kilns have also been in existence for several years. Some of the kids rescued from the kilns have been "indentured laborers" for over seven years. Over the past few years people have reported these incidents, but it was never dealt with. This time, if it were not for the more than 400 desperate parents sending organized on-line postings seeking help--"Children Sold to Illegal Brick Kilns in Shanxi, 400 Fathers Seeking Help in Tears"--then, maybe the scandal would still not be exposed. The kiln owners are no comparison to the Jiang-Luo gang in terms of their power to control the propaganda machine.

Maybe some will say, "The illegal kiln scandal has already shocked the 'higher-ups.' How can the live organ harvesting still be allowed to continue?" It is true that the "higher-ups" are shocked, but not by the tragedy itself. They are shocked by the fact that the scandal has brought shame to the Chinese Communist Party's image. Otherwise, why have several web-based forums started deleting commentaries on this issue? Why is the media only now focusing on singing the praises of the rescue efforts? Although now it has once again been exposed that "there are no good people in Hongtong County," did any media investigate what role the regime's system outside of Hongtong County played in this tragedy? The live organ harvesting scandal has been publicly known since last year, yet why has the CCP not dared to allow international organizations to investigate this issue? Why do they not dare let international medical professionals inspect Chinese organ transplant records and trace the sources of the transplanted organs?

Someone commented on the Internet about the illegal kiln scandal saying, "A society without a moral bottom line is frightening. What is more frightening is the root cause of the loss of the moral bottom line."

That is well said! I hope that those who really care about China's future don't underestimate the morally-bankrupt bottom line of the CCP. As long as there is one child being kidnapped or indentured, as long as there is one Falun Gong practitioner being persecuted, killed, or having their organs harvested, this society cannot be "harmonious." One day when the truth is known to all, I hope that people can look to their own conscience and say, "During that prolonged havoc, I did what I should."

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