Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Import of Laogai-made goods into the EU

Delivered in Plenary - 23rd September 2010

Mr President

China is an economic capitalist wonder but it is essentially a brutal one-party Communist state. One of the more unpleasant facts is the forced ‘re-education’ through labour camps, or laogais, to which millions of dissenters or political opponents – from Uighurs to Falun Gong practitioners and, in the past of course, Tiananmen Square protesters and their relatives – are sent.

In these camps there are horrendous, albeit unproven, allegations of organ harvesting, for transplant purposes, among prisoners about to be executed. It is a fact, of course, that China does execute thousands of its citizens yearly for various reasons: from major capital crimes – something we might find understandable – to economic sabotage and even pimping.

There is another issue which I raised in the past with Commissioner Mandelson, which is the worry that forced labour camps may be producing goods. This is an allegation. One particular thing cited was rubber boots, which somehow find their way onto the EU markets. I have some sympathy with the Commission because identifying this, or proving it, has so far been impossible.