"Ban imports made by Chinese slave labour," demand Conservatives

Brussels, 10 May 2006 -- Almost all EU member states may be importing, probably unknowingly, quantities of goods produced by forced labour in the Chinese Laogai camps. The Laogai/Laojiao System was invented by the Chinese Communist Party and means 'Education by Labour'. It is modelled on the Soviet Gulag system.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP called for an EU-wide ban on importation of products produced in these Chinese labour camps.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China is running a regime of effective forced labour in the camps, and the inmates work for up to 16 hours a day seven days a week, without pay, for the profit of the Communist Party.

In 2005, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning China's forced labour prison camp system, the Laogai, with a vote of 413 to 1. The resolution calls on the international community to condemn the Laogai as a tool for suppression maintained by the Chinese Government.

Sir Robert said:

"The Peoples Republic of China regrettably remains deeply repressive as far as upholding high standards of human rights. These are particularly poor when it comes to freedom of expression and religion, which has resulted in many political dissidents and pro-democracy activists as well as practitioners of minority religions being sent to 'forced re-education through labour' or Laogai camps. Recently, following a resolution of the US Congress, it has been drawn to the attention of the European Parliament that these appalling prison camps are producing goods for export to the EU made by prisoners who are working through forced labour. This is an unacceptable violation of human rights bordering on slavery and if we can identify these products they should be immediately banned from sale in the EU."

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