In 2008, a Chinese engineer and religious dissident named Sun Yi was a prisoner desperate for help, so he left a note in a West-bound package of Halloween decorations he had made amid inhumane conditions in a Chinese labor camp.
Four years later, an American mother discovered the note in the box of decorations, which she had bought at her local Kmart store.
Now, Sun’s story is being spread by an American author in a new book.
Sun, who had been arrested for at least the 13th time for allegedly assisting in an underground printing press in the People’s Republic of China — a press that criticized the Communist administration for various and innumerable human rights violations — wrote the letter in late 2008 with over a year left on his 2 1/2-year sentence after noticing packages with English labels he had recognized from studying the language.
After two long and quiet nights of steadily constructing the letter, using pages from a “political re-education” book to write on, Sun completed his first letter, and within two weeks he had 20 letters ready to package, according to the New York Post.
While packaging plastic skeleton and gravestone decorations, Sun slipped his notes alongside the products, feeling relief while watching the packages be shipped.
In the next days and weeks, Sun began to recruit other prisoners to follow in his footsteps, writing notes for a few months until a sample of one note was found in a prisoner’s mattress, the Post reported.
The prison guards proceeded to gather the prison’s practitioners of Falun Gong, the meditation-based religious movement that Sun followed, and tortured the dissidents for their actions.
Four years after Sun originally packaged his note, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith discovered it among Halloween decorations she had purchased.
According to the Post, the note read: “Please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right[s] Organization. Thousands [of] people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”
Keith initially was shocked by the note, believing it to be a simple prank at first. However, the details Sun provided in his urgent message verified its reality. The note went on to list the name of the prison camp the engineer worked at — namely Masanjia Labor Camp — as well as the camp’s work conditions and pay.
Prisoners, according to Sun’s note, are paid 10 Chinese Yuan every month, equivalent to $1.54 in the United States.
Sun then detailed the camp’s population, writing, “Many of [the prisoners] are Falun [Gong] practitioner[s], who are totally innocent people.
“Only because they have different [beliefs] to the CCCP, they often suffer more punishment than others.”
Finally, after 13 long years, Sun’s story is being publicized.
“Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods,” written by Amelia Pang and published in February by Algonquin Books, tells Sun’s story and of the wider abuses of the Chinese government against its people, who typically are innocent, as Sun says.
Pang told the New York Post, “This SOS letter that Sun Yi wrote was not actually the first letter [from a labor camp] that ever arrived in the United States. But it was perhaps one of the more eye-catching.”
The engineer, according to Pang, is extremely devoted to his cause. “He cared so much about freedom in China, he sacrificed so much to what many would say was a futile cause.”
Under China’s near-totalitarian communist administration, the country has at least 1,000 “re-education” camps where political dissidents, ethnic minorities and those who practice forbidden religions experience torture similar to Sun’s and are forced to manufacture cheap commodities for stores such as Walmart and Kmart.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an Australian non-partisan think tank, “more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some were sent directly from detention camps.”
According to the think tank, its figure is “conservative,” and the true statistic is “likely to be far higher.” What Sun went through isn’t unique; this is a regular occurrence under Chinese tyranny.
Unsurprisingly, President Joe Biden has yet to address these obvious human rights violations.
Rather than using his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping to influence the end of the Chinese country’s arbitrary breaches of basic rights, Biden has defended the nation, explaining their rampant genocide and ideological imprisonment as a simple difference of “cultural norms.”
The furthest Biden has mentioned the country’s untold abuse was in a February tweet where the president, as if in the same breath, wished the Chinese people a good Chinese New Year and shared concerns about Beijing’s economic practices, human rights abuses and coercion of Taiwan.”
I spoke today with President Xi to offer good wishes to the Chinese people for Lunar New Year. I also shared concerns about Beijing’s economic practices, human rights abuses, and coercion of Taiwan. I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 10, 2021
The president’s blatant ignorance of the Chinese people’s vast suffering cannot be understated, nor can it be ignored.
Whereas during his presidential campaign Biden promised retaliation against the nation for its actions, the men and women who continue to endure horrendous treatment at the hands of their communist overlords lie in wait for a change which, unless pressured, likely will never come.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.