His voice was soft and calm but from time to time it would betray a hint of both agony and force."I saw the packaging and figured the products were bound for some English-speaking countries," he said.
If not for the labor camp infamy, it would be just another backwater in China's northeastern rust belt.A national emblem and two signs adorned an unguarded entrance in the center of town.One displayed "Liaoning Province Masanjia Labor" with the final word of "Camp" missing; the other read "Liaoning Province Ideological Education School." Inside the complex, which seemed to be closed -- though officials would not confirm this -- fields covered with haystacks and dried corn separated three clusters of low-rise buildings."We thought we could protect ourselves, and avoid verbal and physical assaults as long as we worked and did the job well." Secret messages Moving forward with his plan to expose the horror in the camp, he secretly tore off pages from exercise books meant for political indoctrination sessions as inmates were barred from having paper.He also befriended a minor criminal from his hometown -- a monitor for the guards -- who managed to get him another banned item: a ball pen refill.Some gruesome details are too specific to him to be reported.
"Making products turned out to be an escape from the horrible violence," he said.
"Once I read the letter and researched on the Internet, I realized that this may be the real deal.
"I knew there are labor camps in China, but this slammed me in the face.
"I am sad for the people who have to endure torture to make these silly decorations." The decorations came in a $29 "Totally Ghoul" toy set that Keith purchased in a local Kmart store in 2011.
When she opened the package before Halloween last year, a letter fell out.
In broken English mixed with Chinese, the author cried for help: "If you occasionally (sic) buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. will thank and remember you forever." Long hours, abuse The letter went on to detail grueling hours, verbal and physical abuses as well as torture that inmates making the products had to endure -- all in a place called Masanjia Labor Camp in China.