Mao Prisoner Book
Jean Pasqualini's 1973 book, about his seven years in China's labor camps, is a pioneering classic.


"Prisoner of Mao" is a harrowing account of
life in China's vast apparatus of prisons and labor camps,
describing how Chinese authorities used psychological techniques
to coerce the innocent and the guilty into submission.

To Orwell Today,

Thanks so much for all your hard work and important research.

I am an American Falun Gong student who has received much harassment from the CCP. Your site gives me much background and important details...Thanks again!

Clear Wisdom has translated stories from the CCP's brainwashing camps, etc...

I assume you have heard about David Kilgore's expose of the "Organ Harvesting...."

Also, Falun Gong and the Epoch Times started a trend of quitting the Party: "The Nine Commentaries...."

Thanks again! Wow!!! (I've learned more about American history at your site than anywhere in America!)

-Gary in Florida

Greetings Gary,

Thank you for the warm words about "Orwell Today" and glad to have you as a reader.

Thank you also for sending along those links with information on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and its persecution of dissidents.

Recently I came across a little blue book (scanned above and below) entitled PRISONER OF MAO which I haven't yet read in its entirety (it being at the bottom of a stack of more recent books on Mao and China I've yet to read), but what I have read has been very interesting. It describes life in Communist China - including the labour camps - with stories that are right out of "1984", so well did Orwell understand the system wherever it was applied - in the past, the future and the present. See LAOGAI IS CHINESE GULAG.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - I'm glad you're enjoying the American history articles on "Orwell Today" and recognizing the threat of Red China to our way of life.

PPS - Below are PRISONER OF MAO book reviews and related articles on China's dissidents:

Prisoner of Mao, by Pasqualini
(Out of Print)
by Benjamin Ivry - Aug 29, 2007

Almost a decade ago, in October 1997, the human rights activist Jean Pasqualini died in Paris at 71. Born in Beijing to a French Corsican father and Chinese mother, Jean worked as a translator for the U.S. military and the British Embassy in Beijing until he was arrested in 1957, charged with counterrevolutionary activity, and sentenced to the nefarious Laogai system of penal colonies, also known as China's "Gulag". In 1964, thanks to his French background, Jean was released by Mao after France recognized China, whereupon he was exiled to France; there, some years later, I had the pleasure of getting to know him.

Mao Prisoner Map

Jean's 1973 book Prisoner of Mao, about his seven years in the Laogai, is a pioneering classic, although, sadly, Penguin has allowed it to go out of print. The ever-timely Prisoner of Mao should be reprinted immediately, especially as even out-of-print copies available from and Barnes & are challenging to find, detectable only by Jean's Chinese name, Bao Ruo-Wang. An author search for "Jean Pasqualini" on both sites confusingly brings up the French edition of his book (which remains available from Gallimard).

Jean Pasqualini Dies at 71; Told of China's Penal Horrors
by Seth Faison, New York Times, Oct 13, 1997

Jean Pasqualini, whose book about the seven years he spent as a political prisoner in China's labor camps first exposed the hidden world of the penal system here, died in Paris on Thursday after a long illness. He was 71. His book, "Prisoner of Mao", is a harrowing account of life in China's vast apparatus of prisons and labor camps, describing how Chinese authorities used psychological techniques to coerce the innocent and the guilty into submission. It also revealed how thin the line between survival and starvation became during China's famine in the early 1960s.

When the book was published in France in 1973, Mr. Pasqualini was denounced by many French supporters of China's revolution who refused to believe that the seemingly utopian nation of happy peasants and workers, as they then saw it, could have such a dark side. Only years later, after China's politically repressive regime relaxed slightly, releasing other prisoners and admitting its own excesses, did the criticism die away. "Prisoner of Mao" written with the journalist Rudolph Chelminski, is now widely seen by China scholars as a classic of prison literature and of modern China.

Born in Beijing to a Corsican father and Chinese mother, Mr. Pasqualini was educated in French and British schools in Tianjin and Shanghai. His Chinese name was Bao Ruowang. Able in several languages, he worked as a translator for the United States military and the British Embassy before the Communist Party came to power in 1949. By 1957, when the political pendulum in Beijing swung sharply to the left, anyone who had worked with foreigners was suspect, and Mr. Pasqualini was sentenced to 12 years in detention for "counter-revolutionary activities", a vague legal term often used for political crimes.

His interrogation, during which he was forced to write a 700-page confession, lasted 15 months and was so intense that it left him begging to be sent to a labor camp. Yet conditions in the labor camps where he toiled became frightful as China fell into a bitter famine from 1960 to 1962, when an estimated 30 million people died. At one point, Mr. Pasqualini credits a prison doctor with saving his life by warning him not to eat the sawdust that authorities mixed in with daily gruel as an experimental food substitute, no matter how hungry he was.

Mr. Pasqualini described how in China's "reform-through-labor" system, the authorities relentlessly manipulated each prisoner to use daily criticism of others and confessions of their own wrongdoing until each one genuinely believed whatever the authorities told them, including their own guilt. Mr. Pasqualini said he fully lost the ability to reason independently, and described an intellectual journey from defiance to skepticism to acceptance to an enthusiastic embrace of the charges against him.

"Over the years, Mao's police have perfected their interrogation methods to such a fine point that I would defy any man, Chinese or not, to hold out against them", Mr. Pasqualini wrote. "Their aim is not so much to make you invent nonexistent crimes, but to make you accept your ordinary life, as you led it, as rotten and sinful and worthy of punishment." The isolation was brutal as well. Mr. Pasqualini was only allowed a visit from his wife a year and a half after his arrest. It lasted six minutes. At that time, Mr. Pasqualini also wrote, most prisoners were never allowed to leave the labor camp system. Those whose terms expired were often required to stay, and simply called "freed workers", one reason why there were so few eyewitness accounts of the camps.

Mr. Pasqualini was released in 1964, as a gesture of good will toward France when it established diplomatic relations with China. He moved to Paris, but did not tell his story publicly for years. Mr. Chelminski persuaded him to write a book together, which became a best-seller in France and was translated into several languages. A French film by the same name was made in 1977. Mr. Pasqualini left a son behind in China, named Paul, who was allowed to emigrate to France in 1978. In his later years, Mr. Pasqualini worked as a translator for Newsweek and Life magazines.

Doing business in a country that jails millions of dissidents
by Judi McLeod, Canada Free Press, Nov 15, 2007

American companies assisting Chinese government oppression can always fall back on corporate PR to downplay their roles. When the news hit that Yahoo was settling a legal dispute with the families of two Chinese dissidents, columnists began trying to defend Yahoo by pointing out that the company isn't the only Judas in the corporate crowd trucking with Communist China. These columnists wanted to point out that Cisco Systems Inc. helps sends thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet surveillance technology to the Peoples' Republic of China. Cisco is hardly alone in doing business in a Communist county that employs a 30,000-member strong Internet police force to deal with anyone pegged in kangaroo courts as a "dissident".

Microsoft, whose charitable works with the United Nations is often lauded by the mainstream media, has actually helped the Internet cops catch Internet users, who are sent away to prison. Google built a special search engine, Chinese style so that the ultra sensitive Chinese government can filter out things they don't want floating around in hallowed Oriental cyberspace. Companies working with the Chinese government can always send out media communiqués patting themselves on the back for claiming that they are on the side of democracy by virtue of lending their talent to help build China’s Internet. Yahoo's recent publicity from paying the families of a Chinese journalist and a dissident who were jailed after the company gave their identities to the Chinese police, distorts the main issue.

Millions of dissidents -- including farmers, students and Christians -- languish in Chinese-style gulags known as laogai, and because the Chinese government has a relative field day both placing and keeping them there, their numbers are skyrocketing.

The lawsuit against Yahoo was brought by Yu Ling, the wife of jailed Chinese dissident Wang Xiaonin Zion and by Gao Qinsheng, the mother of Chinese journalist Shi Tao. Both men were sentenced to 10 years in a Chinese prison. Yahoo is not saying how much the women were paid in the lawsuit, but even millions won't make 10 years in a Chinese prison go any faster for Wang Xiaonin and Shi Tao. Both men were not only jailed -- they were tortured, a practice that is rampant in China. In fact, the routine torturing of prisoners is one of the reasons why China has one of the world's worst records on Human Rights.

Ordinary people from all walks of life who get caught writing anti-government essays on the Internet, the followers of Falun Gong and Christians are treated the same in Chinese-style gulags. While their families will be financially looked after on the outside, Wang Zion and Shi Tao can only hope the stories they heard about organs being removed from live prisoners are exaggerated.

The words of Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, in announcing the settlement sound noble: "It was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them, for Yahoo and for the future. Yahoo was founded on the idea that the free exchange of information can change how people lead their lives, conduct their business and interact with their governments. We are committed to making sure our actions match our values". But the words of Jerry Yang, carried by the Western media will never be heard by the millions in China's prisons. The only words that matter to them would be, "You are free to go, to return home to your waiting families". Words that never come to those lost and forgotten by the outside world. Dissidents in China rely more on surviving each day than they do on empty Public Relations. Those dissidents say that they still face danger in using the Internet to spread their message, the recent pledge by Yahoo to protect their right to confidentiality notwithstanding. "Yesterday dissidents wanting to share their thoughts with others in China said that the settlement would not reduce the dangers they faced. (Timesonline, Nov. 15, 2007). "One man, who has spent most of the past 18 years in jail, said that Chinese wanting to exercise freedom of expression had no choice but to use the internet and thus expose their writings to China's cyberspace police. He said: "The point is, the authorities know exactly what is being said and being written by people with dissenting views. They know all these people. The only question is whether they want to pick someone up and jail them".

Not only western multinationals continue to do big business with China, but also so do Western governments like Canada and the United States. Where is the incentive for the Communist regime in China to improve its appalling record on human rights when they know that Western corporations and governments rely on doing brisk business with them? With one Chinese export after another being found dangerous to consumers, exports arriving daily, make it to the store shelves. As for the big media question game asking which American company has created the greater evil, Yahoo, or Microsoft et al? All of them, that's who. Profiting from a country that jails -- and tortures -- millions of dissidents puts them in the same category of evil.

Traitors in family: Stalin's informers (new book about life in Russia) & Putin's youth groups defend Kremlin (just like Stalin's did). DailyMail/GlobeMail, Oct 17, 2007. Go to ORWELL 2 + 2 = 1984

4.Old World Destruction and 20.Thought Police & Snitches and 36.Hate Week Volunteerism and 37.We Are the Dead and 38.Cellars and 39.Interrogation & Torture and 40.Electric Shock Brainwashing and 43.Winston Talks In Sleep

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~