Inside a Chinese Prison: An American’s Perspective
by Stuart B. Foster
I grew up around jails and prisons in the Upstate of South Carolina. My grandfather was born in jail, with the punch line being his father was the sheriff and had brought his pregnant wife to work. My father was the county judge and the jail next to his office was my playground. My first job was running errands between the courts, lawyers and prisoners. Studying sociology in college, I focused on penology and visited many prisons across my home state. After 15 years of teaching I received a scholarship to work and travel in Asia. My interest in prisons continued as I visited the world’s most notorious jails like the “Hanoi Hilton” in Vietnam and “S-21” in Cambodia. However, throughout my lifetime fascination with jails I never imagined that one day I would be incarcerated under the brutal, authoritarian forced labor camp system of the People’s Republic of China.
Events in April 2013 led me to be imprisoned for eight months in Southern China, where I assembled Christmas lights for up to 10 hours a day. Suffering from a serious head injury after a collision with a ...