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Laogai Museum

Laogai Museum
Former residence now home to the Laogai Museum
Laogai Museum is located in Washington, D.C.
Laogai Museum
Location within Washington, D.C.
Established November 12, 2008
Location 1734 20th Street NW
Washington, D.C. (formerly at 1109 M Street NW, Washington, D.C).
Type Prison Museum
Public transit access      Dupont Circle

The Laogai Museum is a museum in

  • Laogai Museum
  • VOA Covers grand opening of New Museum (video) (Chinese)
  • Voice of America Covers Opening of Laogai Museum (video) (Chinese)
  • News relating to Laogai Museum from ObserveChina

External links

  1. ^ a b c d  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Press Release: Laogai Museum Now Open to the Public". Laogai Research Foundation. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Kusimi, John (17 November 2008). "Harry Wu Opens New Laogai Museum in DC".  
  4. ^ a b "Laogai Handbook". The Laogai Research Foundation. 2006. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2008.  p. 16.
  5. ^ "Chongqing: China allows counsel for reeducation-through-labor cases". Laogai Research Foundation. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-22.  Translated from Chinese, original source was 海涛 (4 April 2008). "中国重庆允许律师代理劳动教养案". Voice of America. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  6. ^ a b "The Laogai Museum and Archive". Cultural Tourism DC. Retrieved 12 December 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d Buffard, Anne-Laure (14 November 2008). "D.C. museum 1st in U.S. to look at Beijing's prison system".  
  8. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A (12 November 2008). "Yahoo-Sponsored Chinese Human Rights Museum Opens in Washington".  


A spokesman of the Chinese embassy has criticized the museum, calling it an attack on China's reputation and suggesting that Wu's motivation behind opening the museum was "to vilify the Chinese legal system and mislead the American public."[7]

The museum was funded in part by the Yahoo! Human Rights Fund, a fund established by Yahoo! after the company attracted criticism for helping Chinese police locate and detain internet dissidents.[1][3] The fund, headed by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang was part of Yahoo!'s apology, and funding the museum was one of its first public projects.[8]

The purpose of the Laogai Museum, according to Wu, is both to educate the public about the laogai and to memorialize the victims of the laogai.[2][6] The museum documents the "history and structure of the laogai," and displays laogai-related materials such as uniforms, photographs, government documents, and products manufactured by prisoners[2]—including such items as Christmas lights, tea bags,[3] and plastic flowers;[7] many of the items were donated by laogai survivors, and others come from Wu's own archives.[7] The museum also has a large archive of prison-made products, victims' testimonies,[7] and Chinese government documents, which is expected to be opened to the public in 2009.[6]

The Chinese penal system includes numerous components such as prisons (formerly referred to as laogai), [2] Prisoners in these camps are said to undergo forced labor and thought reform,[4] and the system has attracted widespread criticism from the international community. In 1994, the government abandoned the term laogai and renamed the facilities "prisons" (jianyu), but the Laogai Research Foundation and others claim that forced labor continues and prison conditions have not improved.[1][5]


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