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A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: Newsweek * Refinery29 “Timely and urgent . . . Pang is a dogged investigator.” —The New York Times “Moving and powerful.” —Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author  Discover the truth behind the discounts   In 2012, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith opened up a package of Halloween decorations. The cheap foam headstones A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: Newsweek * Refinery29 “Timely and urgent . . . Pang is a dogged investigator.” —The New York Times “Moving and powerful.” —Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author  Discover the truth behind the discounts   In 2012, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith opened up a package of Halloween decorations. The cheap foam headstones had been five dollars at Kmart, too good a deal to pass up. But when she opened the box, something shocking fell out: an SOS letter, handwritten in broken English.   “Sir: If you occassionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicuton of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.” The note’s author, Sun Yi, was a mild-mannered Chinese engineer turned political prisoner, forced into grueling labor for campaigning for the freedom to join a forbidden meditation movement. He was imprisoned alongside petty criminals, civil rights activists, and tens of thousands of others the Chinese government had decided to “reeducate,” carving foam gravestones and stitching clothing for more than fifteen hours a day. In Made in China, investigative journalist Amelia Pang pulls back the curtain on Sun’s story and the stories of others like him, including the persecuted Uyghur minority group whose abuse and exploitation is rapidly gathering steam. What she reveals is a closely guarded network of laogai—forced labor camps—that power the rapid pace of American consumerism. Through extensive interviews and firsthand reportage, Pang shows us the true cost of America’s cheap goods and shares what is ultimately a call to action—urging us to ask more questions and demand more answers from the companies we patronize.  


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A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: Newsweek * Refinery29 “Timely and urgent . . . Pang is a dogged investigator.” —The New York Times “Moving and powerful.” —Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author  Discover the truth behind the discounts   In 2012, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith opened up a package of Halloween decorations. The cheap foam headstones A Most-Anticipated Book of the Year: Newsweek * Refinery29 “Timely and urgent . . . Pang is a dogged investigator.” —The New York Times “Moving and powerful.” —Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author  Discover the truth behind the discounts   In 2012, an Oregon mother named Julie Keith opened up a package of Halloween decorations. The cheap foam headstones had been five dollars at Kmart, too good a deal to pass up. But when she opened the box, something shocking fell out: an SOS letter, handwritten in broken English.   “Sir: If you occassionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicuton of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.” The note’s author, Sun Yi, was a mild-mannered Chinese engineer turned political prisoner, forced into grueling labor for campaigning for the freedom to join a forbidden meditation movement. He was imprisoned alongside petty criminals, civil rights activists, and tens of thousands of others the Chinese government had decided to “reeducate,” carving foam gravestones and stitching clothing for more than fifteen hours a day. In Made in China, investigative journalist Amelia Pang pulls back the curtain on Sun’s story and the stories of others like him, including the persecuted Uyghur minority group whose abuse and exploitation is rapidly gathering steam. What she reveals is a closely guarded network of laogai—forced labor camps—that power the rapid pace of American consumerism. Through extensive interviews and firsthand reportage, Pang shows us the true cost of America’s cheap goods and shares what is ultimately a call to action—urging us to ask more questions and demand more answers from the companies we patronize.  

30 review for Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I had a reason for wanting to read this book. Recently a friend whom I have not seen since before the pandemic....sent me a huge - years supply- of Reese’s peanut butter cups....( sweet chocolate gift)... but what my friend didn’t know —-and I had just learned ...is that China’s sweet tooth for a chocolate melts with economic slowdown — why? Not only are Americans looking for a healthier snack ....but Hershey’s the worlds largest chocolate company, failed at curbing child labor laws in cocoa fiel I had a reason for wanting to read this book. Recently a friend whom I have not seen since before the pandemic....sent me a huge - years supply- of Reese’s peanut butter cups....( sweet chocolate gift)... but what my friend didn’t know —-and I had just learned ...is that China’s sweet tooth for a chocolate melts with economic slowdown — why? Not only are Americans looking for a healthier snack ....but Hershey’s the worlds largest chocolate company, failed at curbing child labor laws in cocoa fields. Advocate groups say that they are still not sure as to whether it would strongly support U.S. regulations. So... when I saw this book I wanted to learn more about what I feared....and learn more about china’s labor practices. And frankly...it’s more scary than I thought....and it’s not just candy we have to worry about: think of products sold at Kmart, fashion at H&M, etc. Buying anything ‘made in China’....will cause pause from this reader. Valuable book.... An excellent researched non-fiction book. Amelia Pang followed a political prisoner- Sun Yi....and exposes the alarming truth about forced labor camps. I listened to the Audiobook....( thank you, Netgalley, Workman Audio, and author Amelia Pang)...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    It's only February, and I can confidently state I just read the most important book of 2021. Perhaps of my life. In a word, Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods is terrifying. There are no words I could write to adequately express the pain I feel knowing I've indirectly supported the horrible practice of prison labor in China. And here's some sobering news: We all have. Forced labor camps produce the cheap products we buy. Even if they're labeled " It's only February, and I can confidently state I just read the most important book of 2021. Perhaps of my life. In a word, Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods is terrifying. There are no words I could write to adequately express the pain I feel knowing I've indirectly supported the horrible practice of prison labor in China. And here's some sobering news: We all have. Forced labor camps produce the cheap products we buy. Even if they're labeled "Made in America", chances are pieces/parts to assemble these products were made by unpaid, abused, tortured, force-fed and raped workers in factories in China. This book offers exposure of the nightmarish atrocities, but not many answers on how to stop it, mainly because there aren't many beyond spreading the word. It seems it's up to all of us not to look away, and to stand up to face the hideous truth behind our coveted ability to save a buck. In addition, there is also the horror of China's billion dollar organ transplant industry, which regularly tests these forced workers to see if matches can be found for involuntary harvest. If you thought it was disturbing to see Katniss volunteer for Prim in The Hunger Games, you'll never sleep again when you read about how these forced labor prisoners are volunteered with their lives so someone can make a yuan or two off their organs. This is reality for millions in China, though as Americans we're shielded from most of the details because the Chinese government and its corporations are not giving up their "success" secrets without a fight. I'm not saying Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods is an easy read, but it's definitely an important one. Awareness is the first step to solving the outrageous crime of forced labor. We all need that knowledge to nudge us to step up and do our part. Thank you to NetGalley, Workman Audio, and especially author Amelia Pang for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. You have changed my outlook for the better, and I am indebted to you for this eye-opening experience.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    After reading this book, the "Made in China" label will be more than a whisper in your ear. It will be a slap in the face. The Chinese Communist Party is actively involved in using "reeducation camps" as a source of cheap or free labor. The conditions are horrendous. This book gives firsthand accounts of the treatment given to the occupants of the camps and some of the methods of torture used to achieve the desired result. Make no mistake, this is no different than the methods employed in Nazi G After reading this book, the "Made in China" label will be more than a whisper in your ear. It will be a slap in the face. The Chinese Communist Party is actively involved in using "reeducation camps" as a source of cheap or free labor. The conditions are horrendous. This book gives firsthand accounts of the treatment given to the occupants of the camps and some of the methods of torture used to achieve the desired result. Make no mistake, this is no different than the methods employed in Nazi Germany. Specific ethnic groups and religious faiths are among the targets. This is chilling. Amelia Pang includes tips on how we can all change our shopping habits to alleviate demand from this part of the world. We can also be responsible consumers by making ourselves aware of the brand names who have a history of outsourcing with slave labor. If you don't want to spend time reading this book, you can read Sun Yi's story in the documentary "Letter from Masanjia." A big thank you to Amelia Pang for sharing the stories of these brave men and women who have made such great sacrifices to help others be free. Also thanks to Alongquin Books and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    wanderonwards

    CW: confinement, death, emotional abuse, forced institutionalization, genocide, gore, grief, medical content, physical abuse, police brutality, racism, religious bigotry, sexual assault, slavery, suicide, torture, violence. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for sending me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts on this book are conflicting. On one hand, this is an extremely important topic that definitely needs more discourse and considerable policy change. On the ot CW: confinement, death, emotional abuse, forced institutionalization, genocide, gore, grief, medical content, physical abuse, police brutality, racism, religious bigotry, sexual assault, slavery, suicide, torture, violence. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for sending me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts on this book are conflicting. On one hand, this is an extremely important topic that definitely needs more discourse and considerable policy change. On the other, I did not enjoy this book and think it could have been much more effective. Before I jump into my review, I think I need to share the position I’m coming from. For as long as I can remember, my family has always tried to avoid purchasing products made in China, something I rarely see others discuss. I don’t know where this decision originally came from, but growing up I always thought it was because these products were considered poor quality or there were concerns about toxic chemicals, not that it was a system of exploitation further fueled by global consumerism. I do remember the curious looks from my friends whenever I would share that my family tried to avoid products made in China; the thought of avoiding specific manufacturing locations had never crossed their minds. In fact, the term “ethical consumption” has only entered my vocabulary within the past two years; clearly there is substantial room for consumer education and progressive change. I was looking forward to reading Made in China because my family and I still try to avoid products made in China (although it can be extremely difficult to impossible in some instances), and I now know the reasons we avoid products made in China are much more complex than simply “it’s cheaply made”. My hope for Made in China was that would help me gain a better insight of why my family would have originally made the decision to avoid products made in China and evaluate if we were right in sticking to that decision. In short, the answer is yes: we will continue to avoid, to the best of our ability and resources (and because we have that flexibility in most instances), products made in China. Made in China explains in detail the laogai system (which translates to “reform through labor” but really means forced-labor in essentially concentration camps) and the multitude of human rights violations that go into manufacturing cheap products for the rest of the world to consume. I think it’s also important to note that “cheap” products just mean somewhere in the manufacturing process corners have been cut, and more often than not it's the workers creating the product that suffer, not the company’s profits. However, there are two main reasons I could not rate this book any higher. First, I don’t believe I would have read this book if I knew it contained graphic descriptions of torture, and because this content was never disclosed (in any promotional blurb or as a content warning at the beginning of the book), it has negatively affected my rating. Graphic descriptions of sensitive topics (such as torture) are definite deal-breakers for me. Second, while this book does cover many aspects of this issue, it fails to cover several important points, including: 1) the role of capitalism and big business in pressuring these systems to continue with their current loopholes and horrific conditions, and 2) the privilege of being able to use your purchasing power (such as my family does) to avoid the cheapest options of products: those who do not have financial flexibility LITERALLY don’t have any other options and can’t afford to buy the higher quality item. Overall, I’m still not completely sure how I feel about this book. It could have been less graphic and been much more effective, for my reading tastes anyways. It’s not that this story should not be told, it’s that it could be told in a different way. The fact that China is violating human rights in such blatant attempt to eradicate dissidents and ethnic and religious minorities from their culture needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Hopefully, Made in China will be the last stone needed to bring an avalanche of awareness and momentum to this issue. Thank you again to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the privilege of reviewing an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    This book is very interesting. Most nonfiction is written in a way that feels dry, no matter how interesting the subject matter, but this book is almost suspiciously conversational and easy to focus on. And yet, it's clear that the author has done extensive research in addition to her extensive personal experience investigating the issue of Chinese labor camps. I learned the word "laogai" here, which I'm embarrassed that I only recognized from Avatar: The Last Airbender. This chronicle of human ri This book is very interesting. Most nonfiction is written in a way that feels dry, no matter how interesting the subject matter, but this book is almost suspiciously conversational and easy to focus on. And yet, it's clear that the author has done extensive research in addition to her extensive personal experience investigating the issue of Chinese labor camps. I learned the word "laogai" here, which I'm embarrassed that I only recognized from Avatar: The Last Airbender. This chronicle of human rights abuses is told in a personal way, through the story of a man who experienced arrest, forced labor, and torture himself. I had never heard of the Falun Gong before, either; I expected this book to feature much more on Xinjiang but, while the camps there are certainly discussed, most of this book's focus is on a system that preceded the more recent large-scale crackdown on the Uighurs. Though it is unapologetically accusatory toward China, this book is also not blind to our own flaws, which I appreciated. It is terrifying to think about how many ordinary, unnecessary knick knacks on ordinary store shelves were made at the cost of some "disappeared" prisoner's literal blood, sweat, and tears.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was a really tough one to read. I found the history detailed and well researched because I was not familiar with many of the events in China that led to forced labor camps. The descriptions of what people endure were graphic but I think they were necessary. I will certainly be looking at more companies that ethically source their materials and labor. You often think that the cheaper price is your "gain" but I had to really assess my own buying and spending habits after reading this book. A This was a really tough one to read. I found the history detailed and well researched because I was not familiar with many of the events in China that led to forced labor camps. The descriptions of what people endure were graphic but I think they were necessary. I will certainly be looking at more companies that ethically source their materials and labor. You often think that the cheaper price is your "gain" but I had to really assess my own buying and spending habits after reading this book. A solid non-fiction that I think will appeal to people who like both history but also modern day issues that impact us. I did think the book was a balance of blame to go all around- blame for the horrid conditions people face in factories but also blame for us because we are always chasing the "best price." Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang is very highly recommended exposition on China's labor/reeducation camps, human rights violations, and how our consumerism is a tacit approval of the system. Everyone should read this book. Everyone. And then reexamine their own involvement with cheap Chinese merchandise. Take note that if you buy something made in China it was likely made with slave labor. That should cause you to take pause in Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang is very highly recommended exposition on China's labor/reeducation camps, human rights violations, and how our consumerism is a tacit approval of the system. Everyone should read this book. Everyone. And then reexamine their own involvement with cheap Chinese merchandise. Take note that if you buy something made in China it was likely made with slave labor. That should cause you to take pause in and of itself, but it becomes even more crucial to take action if you combine it with the fact that China is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, and their rates are vastly under reported. When Julie Keith opened up a package of cheap decorations in 2012, she discovered a plea for help written by the prisoner who made the items. The note was written by Sun Yi who was taken prisoner and put in a reeducation camp/ forced labor camp by the Chinese Communist Party. His crime was practicing Falun Gong with a religious meditation group. Pang shares the life of Sun Yi, including the horrendous torture he and others endure in the "laogai system" which is the world’s largest forced-labor system. The system is rarely labeled as prisons, rather they call the camps reeducation centers or detoxification centers. No matter the name, they are still forced labor centers where people are sent at the whim of the CCP. The people in forced labor include the Falun Gong practitioners, as well as Christians, Turks, Muslim Uighurs, and Tibetans. Companies who get their products that are made with the forced slave labor from China never receive them directly from the prisons, instead they are exported and purchased through an import-export company system. It also appears that China is now in the business of organ selling. They get the medical information from the prisoners and will harvest their organs. The transplant industry in China is a billion dollar industry. With modern AI surveillance technologies, the CCP is targeting even more people as they can identify them. Think about this information as you blindly follow any social media platform: "As early on as 2004, China has built the most extensive surveillance and internet censorship system in the world, with currently an estimated one hundred thousand human censors inspecting the web for politically sensitive content and manually deleting posts on various Chinese social media platforms. They are employed not only by state propaganda departments, but also by Chinese companies that have privatized censorship. And then there are the commenters, who are paid to guide online discussions in a pro-government direction. A 2017 Harvard study estimated that 448 million paid comments appear on Chinese social media every year." China is said to be one big modern, technologically savvy labor camp. This is not an easy book to read but it is vital that people know what is going on in China. If people show any dissent in China, this is how they handle it - imprison them into forced labor. Pang immersed herself into Sun's story and that of other labor camp survivors over three years. Note that according to a 2017 study by the Economic Policy Institute, "China’s accession to the WTO caused the United States to lose 3.4 million jobs. And as manufacturing migrated to China, it created more opportunities for Chinese factories to outsource work to labor camps." What we can do is limit how we spend our money and investigate the companies we buy from because China does respond to financial push back. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2021/0...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jason Park

    The list of China’s human rights abuses is long. This isn’t new to most people. What’s unique about Amelia Pang’s *Made in China* is the depth to which she investigates and the clarity with which she explains what YOU can do. My review: https://t.co/xC72ePQJgX The list of China’s human rights abuses is long. This isn’t new to most people. What’s unique about Amelia Pang’s *Made in China* is the depth to which she investigates and the clarity with which she explains what YOU can do. My review: https://t.co/xC72ePQJgX

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    OMG this sounds so good. I love books like these because it's like they're telling a dark and gripping story while also teaching you about the rest of the world. Also, if you haven't already been sucked into the weird rabbit hole of YouTube recommended videos, I suggest watching some of the vids about Chinese manufacturing. It's a two-way street, filled with mass-production and Western greed. I learned that there is an entire city in China devoted to feeding America's insatiable appetite for weir OMG this sounds so good. I love books like these because it's like they're telling a dark and gripping story while also teaching you about the rest of the world. Also, if you haven't already been sucked into the weird rabbit hole of YouTube recommended videos, I suggest watching some of the vids about Chinese manufacturing. It's a two-way street, filled with mass-production and Western greed. I learned that there is an entire city in China devoted to feeding America's insatiable appetite for weird Christmas decorations, so there's that.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Auderoy

    QUOTES: In the end, the Cultural Revolution killed millions and mangled China's economy. This is why modern mainland Chinese ideals tend to place higher value on social stability than human rights. The last thing people want is another revolution. QUOTES: In the end, the Cultural Revolution killed millions and mangled China's economy. This is why modern mainland Chinese ideals tend to place higher value on social stability than human rights. The last thing people want is another revolution.

  11. 4 out of 5

    L.A.

    ...and this is true....I can’t even......🌟 The research in this book is phenomenal! Warning!!! The content is graphic portraying what is happening in forced labor camps. I had no idea, but will be evaluating my buying habits. I did not think I could ever be more disturbed over true content than the Holocaust, but, people, if this is happening in China or other countries we cannot live our lives or close our eyes at night again without seeking help for the oppressed. I will never look at those ch ...and this is true....I can’t even......🌟 The research in this book is phenomenal! Warning!!! The content is graphic portraying what is happening in forced labor camps. I had no idea, but will be evaluating my buying habits. I did not think I could ever be more disturbed over true content than the Holocaust, but, people, if this is happening in China or other countries we cannot live our lives or close our eyes at night again without seeking help for the oppressed. I will never look at those cheap little trinkets in the stores again without thinking about the scarred and scared hands that made them. There were moments when my heart was racing so fast, I became nauseous and lightheaded. Each chapter was shocking with the torture Sun suffered in one of the China work camps, better known as Re-education camps the Chinese Communist Party assembled to create cheap products on the backs of starved, beaten and electrocuted and even worse....men, women and children. Working 18 hours a day....7 days a week.... If they are executed, their organs are harvested, which is a whole other story itself. Sun is tortured night and day in a camp until he seeks help by putting SOS letters in packages from the factories heading to the U.S. into the stores of H&M, Walmart, Kmart, Amazon and many others. Thank goodness someone opened it and took heart to seek help and justice., but too late for so many. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped. Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy for my review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    Warning- after reading this book you will feel differently when you reach for the cheapest holiday decor or cute ceramic knickknack. A Chinese man whose only "crime" was following the outlawed religion of Falun Gong is sent to a "reeducation camp" run by the Chinese government. There his life is much worse than any prison in the states. He sleeps head to feet with other prisoners in horrific unsanitary conditions and is made to work exhausting hours assembling electrical parts, holiday decor, st Warning- after reading this book you will feel differently when you reach for the cheapest holiday decor or cute ceramic knickknack. A Chinese man whose only "crime" was following the outlawed religion of Falun Gong is sent to a "reeducation camp" run by the Chinese government. There his life is much worse than any prison in the states. He sleeps head to feet with other prisoners in horrific unsanitary conditions and is made to work exhausting hours assembling electrical parts, holiday decor, stuffing goose feathers into clothing, and much more. If they do not keep up with the unrealistic schedules they are beaten, force-fed, and beaten again. In a heroic act that could have ended his life and others, he begins to write s.o.s notes and hiding them in the goods they are creating for the United States. This is the story of what happened when a woman in Oregon found one of those notes and tried to help. This amazing story of courage and an unspeakable horror is difficult to read and even more horrific is that it is still going on in many parts of the world. Anyone who is interested in world relations, manufacturing, and the economy or civil rights will get much out of this book. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen Hojnacki

    Truly eye opening. Before you make your next purchase, be aware of where the product was made. Please, please, please stop buying cheap products from China. Chances are it came from a forced labor camp. Within the last year, never have I been so aware of where the products I purchase are manufactured.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    In 2012, an Oregon woman opened a package of Halloween decorations to find a letter. The unnamed author wrote that they were a prisoner in a Chinese labor camp, and manufactured the product in deadly and unethical conditions. Several years later the author was revealed to be Sun Yi, a Chinese practitioner of an illegal form of meditation who was imprisoned for activism surrounding his beliefs. Through the majority of MADE IN CHINA Amelia Pang traces the life of Sun, using a combination of intervi In 2012, an Oregon woman opened a package of Halloween decorations to find a letter. The unnamed author wrote that they were a prisoner in a Chinese labor camp, and manufactured the product in deadly and unethical conditions. Several years later the author was revealed to be Sun Yi, a Chinese practitioner of an illegal form of meditation who was imprisoned for activism surrounding his beliefs. Through the majority of MADE IN CHINA Amelia Pang traces the life of Sun, using a combination of interviews, his first-hand accounts, documentary footage, and the memories of friends and family. Pang uses Sun's story to explore the real human cost of Western consumer culture, from fast-fashion to luxury goods. She explains how these prison camps came to be and how they are now a hidden but necessary part of the supply chain. Pang acknowledges that much is outside the control of the everyday consumer, who may be unaware of the origin of these products, but lays out a few simple steps we can each take to pressure corporations and governments to demand change. Content warnings for detailed descriptions of torture and violence.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Imprisoned Chinese are forced to make many of the cheap goods imported by US brands under horrific conditions including brutality and torture. Many of those in China's prisons are persecuted for their religion, e.g. Falun Gong and Uighur Muslims. This is an important book. Imprisoned Chinese are forced to make many of the cheap goods imported by US brands under horrific conditions including brutality and torture. Many of those in China's prisons are persecuted for their religion, e.g. Falun Gong and Uighur Muslims. This is an important book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good book. Rated 4.5 of 5 Most of us in the Western world know that out of respect for the United States we shouldn't but products made in China. But our reasons probably differ slightly. We've likely heard that Chinese workers earn a substantially low wage and they work long hours, which is how China can undercut other countries and their exports. And it's possible ... possible ... that we've heard the term "slave labor" in connection with the Ch This review originally published in Looking For a Good book. Rated 4.5 of 5 Most of us in the Western world know that out of respect for the United States we shouldn't but products made in China. But our reasons probably differ slightly. We've likely heard that Chinese workers earn a substantially low wage and they work long hours, which is how China can undercut other countries and their exports. And it's possible ... possible ... that we've heard the term "slave labor" in connection with the Chinese work force. But what does that even mean? In 2012, a woman in Oregon opened a cheap Halloween headstone decoration that had been purchased at K-Mart. But inside the packaging was a letter - a plea for help - from a Chinese prisoner forced to make and package the cheap, strange decoration. The letter is written in both Chinese and broken English. Feeling the need to do something, the woman reported the note to a local newspaper, and to Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and Anti-Slavery International. Getting a response was not quite so easy. Enter investigative journalist, Amelia Pang. Amelia proves she has the resources and the tenacity to dig deep into the story. Through a great deal of work, Pang uncovers the name of the prisoner who wrote the note (she identifies him by using a pseudonym) and tells his remarkable story of a very bright man holding tight to his religious belief. Unfortunately, his religious thoughts are contrary to the official Chinese stance and so he's sent to a prison for 'reform.' His prison is a well-known facility for providing labor for a wide variety of products. There are no protections for prisoners (no masks or goggles or any kind of gear that any other worker in the world might have provided) and the expectations - the required goals - for prisoners is unrealistic. Most prisoners get about three hours of sleep at night because it's the only way to meet their daily goals. Pang gives us the in-depth story of this particular prisoner, his refusal to spout the Party religion, his punishment - pushed to near death, his ultimate release, and his harsh, brief life after. But she also gives us the broader story. We hear similar stories from other survivors (not surprisingly, it's all the same for women prisoners, plus continued gang rape) and even get a peek at the idea of selling body parts. This is not an easy book to read. It is horrifying. it is reminiscent of the stories we heard coming out of Nazi Germany after WWII, except that this is now. This is going on in our lifetime, and it is being encouraged by us! Although China hasn't gone to great lengths to hide these prison 'reform' camps acting as slave labor for industry, they have done just enough to make it difficult to track or prove and so, while most large corporations unofficially know that the Chinese labor making their products might be shopped out to these camps, they don't look too hard and can justify using Chinese labor. One of the things Pang reminds us is that it is our buying habits ... our need to have the newest thing, our need to have a different thing, our need to have fast and cheap ... that has created the need for this kind of labor. We are to blame for this. It's easy for us to blame the Chinese. It's easy for us to blame corporations that have their products manufactured this way. But as long as we buy these products, this practice will continue. Will it change anything? Unfortunately probably not. While shopping this Christmas there were times I picked up an item, saw the "Made in China" label and thought to myself, "I don't really need this stocking stuffer" and put it back. Did it make me feel better? A little. Did it make a difference? Probably not. But if enough people think the same way.... The book is an excellent bit of research and writing. It will make people uncomfortable and therefore many won't even read it, but for those who prefer to be informed, this is a must read. Looking for a good book? Made in China by Amelia Pang it is a tough, thorough look at Chinese slave labor and how we support it with our own shopping habits. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This was an eye opening read inside the forced labor camp detention centers that manufacture most of the world’s goods. The story begins with a woman in Oregon who while cleaning out her storage, finds a letter that falls out of a sealed package of Halloween decorations. The letter is written in Chinese and English, and explains that he and other prisoners are being forced to manufacture these items for 15+ hours a day. The woman takes the letter to the local newspaper, and the book then follows This was an eye opening read inside the forced labor camp detention centers that manufacture most of the world’s goods. The story begins with a woman in Oregon who while cleaning out her storage, finds a letter that falls out of a sealed package of Halloween decorations. The letter is written in Chinese and English, and explains that he and other prisoners are being forced to manufacture these items for 15+ hours a day. The woman takes the letter to the local newspaper, and the book then follows the life of the writer of the letter while also sharing detailed facts and histories of the forced re-education camps for political and religious prisoners that have become entangled in the manufacturing process. The book also discusses the persecution against the Uyghur people (a minority of Turkish peoples living in Eastern China.) I read the book God’s Double Agent by Bob Fu last year so I was a little familiar with the corruption present in China, however that book was focused more on Christian persecution and didn’t touch as much on forced labor camps that double as factories. I was driven to tears many times after reading the first hand accounts by survivors of the forced re-education camps mentioned in this book. The pain and pure evil these individuals experienced is astonishing. I am thankful that the author brought these issues further to light, and I hope many people read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    An important, intense and difficult to read book about the true cost of buying cheap goods made in China. Forced labor camps, abuse, false imprisonment, lack of food, no medical care. Just a few of the human rights violations suffered by those targeted and imporsoned. I highly recommend that everyone read " Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods." ** I received an electronic ARC in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book. An important, intense and difficult to read book about the true cost of buying cheap goods made in China. Forced labor camps, abuse, false imprisonment, lack of food, no medical care. Just a few of the human rights violations suffered by those targeted and imporsoned. I highly recommend that everyone read " Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods." ** I received an electronic ARC in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joann Im

    An harrowing account on the cheap goods produced in the cost of human lives and labor. The book opens with an American woman unboxing a Halloween decoration package when she discovered an SOS letter written by a political prisoner in China who had made and packaged the product. This opened the door in an effort to investigate the supply chain that allows a product to be manufactured by forced labor and the items being sold in stores such as Kmart, Target, Walmart and many more big and well known An harrowing account on the cheap goods produced in the cost of human lives and labor. The book opens with an American woman unboxing a Halloween decoration package when she discovered an SOS letter written by a political prisoner in China who had made and packaged the product. This opened the door in an effort to investigate the supply chain that allows a product to be manufactured by forced labor and the items being sold in stores such as Kmart, Target, Walmart and many more big and well known companies. High praise for Amelia Pang's excellence in writing and her thorough research in the effort to expose the corruption of products manufacturing in Chinese labor camps. Most importantly, what made this book stand out was her effort to not label these labor workers simply as a statistic but humanizing them. She mainly profiles one political prisoner Sun Li whom provides his personal anecdote on the inhumane living condition and the torture these workers have to endure on a daily basis. Amelia Pang writes with such respect and prioritizes in giving voice to some of the workers in the labor camp. As a gifted investigative journalist, she is determined to deliver factual historical, cultural and economic aspect in pointing out this is not solely an issue in China but a larger institutional narrative that created an incentive for China to continue this brutal labor practice. She seamlessly entwined factual reporting and empathetic perspective for an eye-opening and heartbreaking experience. A thought-provoking and educational piece, Amelia Pang outlines the horrendous manufacturing practice but goes further to provide steps in the role consumers can do to avoid being complicit in human rights violation. Vividly informative with moving cinematic narration illuminating the fearless workers, this is a powerful story about human resilience and portraying the essence of human being whom share similar dreams, hopes and love alike from us. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terry Watson

    A very troubling account of forced labour in Chinese camps that sound as bad as concentration camps. I will try to ensure that I never buy another Made in China product - I’d rather pay more for a product made elsewhere or do without. Large corporations in the West have no ability to audit their supply chains in China.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erin Seeders

    A very sobering read that is important for all consumers to be aware of. The atrocities of human rights violations by the CCP are horrifying. To be honest, I don’t know why our nation purchases anything from them except out of raw greed and unconcern for how fellow human beings are treated in other parts of the world for our ease and luxury.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Harris

    This was really interesting! I am a person who is fascinated by the way things are produced and why they are produced so this was somehow that was right up my alley. I always had a an idea that things were bad in the "factories" over in other countries but I had no idea. This book really opened my eyes to things I had only ever heard rumors about here and there. It also made me rethink my own habits. I have never been someone who buys a lot of stuff and what I do buy is usually second hand but t This was really interesting! I am a person who is fascinated by the way things are produced and why they are produced so this was somehow that was right up my alley. I always had a an idea that things were bad in the "factories" over in other countries but I had no idea. This book really opened my eyes to things I had only ever heard rumors about here and there. It also made me rethink my own habits. I have never been someone who buys a lot of stuff and what I do buy is usually second hand but this book just verified my wanting to do that. I am definitely going to be getting myself a physical copy of this book when it comes out and suggesting it to everyone because I think this is some everyone should know about and learn about

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book is gripping; the stories of human rights abuses are overwhelming. It saddens me that the Chinese Communist Party has long run secret “concentration camps” for cheap labor, and so many American businesses, some knowingly, are supporting this atrocity to feed consumer demand. The author’s tips on what we consumers can do is very helpful and we should take heed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    When clothing is inexpensive, there is a reason. Someone in China might have been forced to work and die so that cheap goods are available in America.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beary Into Books

    Rating 4.5 Wow. This book gave me chills. I cannot believe I never heard of this letter being found all those years ago. I am so glad to have found this book because it opened my eyes to the horrors of what goes on over seas. This book will keep your interest because the reader will want to find out what happens. We are reading about real people and what they had/have to go through just because of where they live. Yes, some people did brake the law but that does not mean they should be forced to Rating 4.5 Wow. This book gave me chills. I cannot believe I never heard of this letter being found all those years ago. I am so glad to have found this book because it opened my eyes to the horrors of what goes on over seas. This book will keep your interest because the reader will want to find out what happens. We are reading about real people and what they had/have to go through just because of where they live. Yes, some people did brake the law but that does not mean they should be forced to work in a prison camp especially when a lot of the crimes were minor. The author did a good job of telling what happened without giving too much of their own opinion. The reader can tell that the author did a great job of researching their topic. When I was reading this book I did not want to put it down. There are some parts that are really hard to read because they deal with abuse and neglect but we cannot shy away from what really went on. It is important that we know what is happening because then we can make the decision to stop supporting certain companies. It might seem pointless but if more people stop supporting them then it will force them to make changes. Overall, this book was inspirational. It showed how one person no matter how many times he got kicked down he never stopped believing in what was important to him. I would definitely recommend this story. **Received an advanced copy through NetGalley in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review of the book. Amelia Pang's book starts with the discovery of a modern-day message in a bottle from a Chinese prisoner of conscience forced to work in prison labor. As she traces the story back, she balances both a gripping biography of Sun Yi and an analytic look at the global forces behind the rise in Chinese prison and slave labor camps. This is one of those stories that homes in on an issue that normally exists in th I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review of the book. Amelia Pang's book starts with the discovery of a modern-day message in a bottle from a Chinese prisoner of conscience forced to work in prison labor. As she traces the story back, she balances both a gripping biography of Sun Yi and an analytic look at the global forces behind the rise in Chinese prison and slave labor camps. This is one of those stories that homes in on an issue that normally exists in the periphery of my brain - I'm aware that "Made in China" products come from the ill-paid work of others but most days, that's a purely intellectual reality, devoid of any action on my part. Pang's narrative and analysis exposed me to the uglier realities of this system, which are much uglier than I had bothered to consider. This may not have been her intention exactly, but Pang's book also made me reconsider any sort of equivalencies I might be tempted to draw between the deep-seated problems in the American prison and justice systems and those of their Chinese counterparts, which seem to be differences not of degree, but of kind. I highly recommend it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chantelyn Pineda

    This is such a heartbreaking story of those individuals who provide us with inexpensive goods at the cost of their liberties. It demonstrates the bravery and strong will of those who are able to endure and survive some of the most horrific conditions. This book changes the way I view China and products that are labelled as "Made in China". I highly recommend this book and encourage others to learn from it. This is such a heartbreaking story of those individuals who provide us with inexpensive goods at the cost of their liberties. It demonstrates the bravery and strong will of those who are able to endure and survive some of the most horrific conditions. This book changes the way I view China and products that are labelled as "Made in China". I highly recommend this book and encourage others to learn from it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    ***Thank you NetGalley for proving me access to this preview. This review is based on an ARC. *** As an international relations student while in undergrad, there were no serious bombshells for my frame of reference for the unethical treatment for people like Sun. I think that if the notion of treatment of people who are not completely in line with the information the Chinese government wants one to believe is new to you, Pang is great at passing along informative, insightful facts about the cheap ***Thank you NetGalley for proving me access to this preview. This review is based on an ARC. *** As an international relations student while in undergrad, there were no serious bombshells for my frame of reference for the unethical treatment for people like Sun. I think that if the notion of treatment of people who are not completely in line with the information the Chinese government wants one to believe is new to you, Pang is great at passing along informative, insightful facts about the cheap good Americans and the rest of the world love (or require) so much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Haruch

    A prisoner in a "reeducation through labor" camp slips an SOS letter into the packaging of a Halloween decoration that he and others are forced to produce. A woman in Oregon later discovers it and wonders what to do. This book follows Sun Yi, the man who wrote the letter and who endured years of torture for his beliefs. It is not an easy read — at points I found myself physically recoiling from descriptions of physical abuse and violence — and it paints a sobering picture of laogai camps in Chin A prisoner in a "reeducation through labor" camp slips an SOS letter into the packaging of a Halloween decoration that he and others are forced to produce. A woman in Oregon later discovers it and wonders what to do. This book follows Sun Yi, the man who wrote the letter and who endured years of torture for his beliefs. It is not an easy read — at points I found myself physically recoiling from descriptions of physical abuse and violence — and it paints a sobering picture of laogai camps in China. It also raises serious concerns about the international supply chain as a whole — and importantly, our place in it as drivers of consumer demand. An unsettling, necessary read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Although this is a nonfiction title about forced labor camps, the story is very compelling and reads like a good novel. The book makes modern Chinese history accessible to the general public. There are enough citations for it to be very dry, but it is not. The narrative starts out from the point of view of an American woman who finds an SOS note in a bag of old Halloween decorations. It follows her journey to try to find and help the man we learn was Sun Yi, whose incredible story is told in det Although this is a nonfiction title about forced labor camps, the story is very compelling and reads like a good novel. The book makes modern Chinese history accessible to the general public. There are enough citations for it to be very dry, but it is not. The narrative starts out from the point of view of an American woman who finds an SOS note in a bag of old Halloween decorations. It follows her journey to try to find and help the man we learn was Sun Yi, whose incredible story is told in detail. Bottom line after reading this is that I never want to buy anything again! But when I do, I’m going to do my homework first. Thankfully the author provides tips at the end for the best ways to shop with a conscience. Recommended for anyone curious about where that SOS note came from and why.

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