Help! I’m Being Held Prisoner…

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the guy who opens a fortune cookie, and the paper says: “Help! I’m being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.”

Well, it actually happened, only it was a greeting card factory. The London Times reports:

When Florence Widdicombe opened a box of Tesco charity Christmas cards to send them to her friends, the six-year-old schoolgirl from Tooting, south London, was startled to find that one of them had already been used. The card, featuring a kitten in a Santa hat, contained a despairing message from a Chinese gulag.

“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China,” the message read in capital letters. “Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation.” Florence had accidentally stumbled on a chilling link between British Christmas fun and Chinese human rights abuse.

Florence Widdicombe holding the card that contained the message

The message in the card went on to say, “Use the link to contact Mr. Peter Humphrey.” The linked Times article is written by…Peter Humphrey.

Florence’s father Ben googled the name, and found a story about a former British journalist who had spent two years in jail in China — at the same Qingpu prison.

That journalist was me. …

I do not know the identities or nationalities of the prisoners who sneaked this note into the Tesco cards, but I have no doubt they are Qingpu prisoners who knew me before my release in June 2015 from the suburban prison where I spent nine of my 23 months.

Tesco, a large British retailer, issued an announcement:

Today, Tesco said: “We abhor the use of prison labour and would never allow it in our supply chain. We were shocked by these allegations and immediately suspended the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation. We have also withdrawn these cards from sale whilst we investigate.”

This is just one more of many indications that China’s brutal Communist regime is getting worse, not better. Several American administrations indulged the naive assumption that trade relations with the West would inevitably lead to liberalization, and that there was no down side to cooperating in the growth of Chinese power, even when (as, for example, the case of intellectual property infringement) it was plainly adverse to American interests.

As with a number of other issues, President Trump is to be commended for putting aside the happy talk indulged in not just by former administrations, but by commentators like Tom Friedman, and taking a realistic view of the Communist Chinese regime. I think it is fair to say that one of the Democrats’ reasons for wanting to be rid of President Trump is their desire to get back to business as usual with China.

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