The letter came in a box of Halloween decorations purchased at Kmart, but for a year Julie Keith never knew. It gathered dust in her storage, a haunting plea for help hidden among artificial skeletons, tombstones and spider webs.
Keith, a 42-year-old vehicle donation manager at a southeast Portland Goodwill, at one point considered donating the unopened $29.99 Kmart graveyard kit. It was one of those accumulated items you never need and easily forget. But on a Sunday afternoon in October, Keith pulled the orange and black box from storage. She intended to decorate her home in Damascus for her daughter's fifth birthday, just days before Halloween.
She ripped open the box and threw aside the cellophane.
That's when Keith found it. Scribbled onto paper and folded into eighths, the letter was tucked between two Styrofoam headstones.
"If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."
The graveyard kit, the letter read, was made in unit 8, department 2 of the Masanjia Labor Camp in Shenyang, China.
Chinese characters broke up choppy English sentences.
"People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)."
Ten yuan is equivalent to $1.61.
"People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others."
The letter was not signed.
Shocked, Keith sat down as her mind reeled.
Wow, that's daring, she thought. She imagined the desperation the writer must have felt, the courage he or she must have mustered to slip the letter into that box. If caught, what would happen?
Like a message in a bottle, the letter traveled more than 5,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean. It could not be ignored.
If the people of the US do not stand their ground to what is coming, labor camps like this will become the norm, not just in the US, but throughout the whole world.
Then, there will be no-one to read such letters.
They already exist, prison labor is on the rise here in the US and as pointed out "education camps" are no longer conspiracy theories and do exist and executive orders have been signed enabling the gov to take over the labor force in the country in disaster scenarios. Most people want to ignore the obvious, but this is all too real of a scenario at this point. You are correct CH in that history does repeat itself and people are willfully ignorant and complacent and will pay for it. Most of our "history" has been misinformation anyway and most are too lazy to do their own research and learn what has truly transpired in this once great Republic.