By James D. Seymour, Richard Anderson, Fan Sidong
Much has been written about the laogai (sometimes likened to the Soviet gulag) in the People's Republic of China. Depending on the source, the prisons are described as nonexistent, enlightened institutions, or hellish places which subject the inmates to degradation and misery. The system is commonly thought (by admirer and critic alike) as having a measurable impact on the national economy, providing significant resources to the state. This book examines such assertions and presents a detailed, objective, and realistic picture of the situation, along with case studies dealing with the three northwestern provinces. It is based on research in classified documents and extensive interviews with former prisoners, judicial personnel, and other insiders. In each case study, the authors discuss the history of the provincial prison system and the impact that each has had at the macro, meso, and micro levels.