Talk about hard work, I mean really hard work in everything. That is what is happening in Chinese labor camps. After a hard day’s work they don’t really get a good night sleep. Once the sun has set they have to start playing online games to win credits for their guards.
Though this might seem a little like “not a big deal, I do it all the time.”, It is. This could only mean that there is lesser sleeping hours as they have to wake up again when the sun is back to start work offline.
A 54-year-old prisoner at the Jixi labour camp in the northern province of Heilongjiang said he was forced to play games on the internet in order to build up credit that was traded by his guards for real money, a practice known as “gold-farming”.
In many online games, such as the enormously popular World of Warcraft, players who spend hours accumulating gold inside the game then sell their achievements to other players who do not have the time or patience to earn their own online currency.
Although the practice is technically illegal, it is widespread. Typically, players in developing countries sell their gold to players in the United States or Europe.
In an interview with the Guardian, the prisoner said online gaming was a far more lucrative activity for the managers of the labour camp than the physical labour the inmates were forced to do.
“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” he said. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb (£470-570) a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”
He added: “If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.”
As usual the officials in the central office for labor camps have denied any such incidents.
The official, who declined to give his name, said: “We do not allow our inmates to do high-risk occupations, such as coal-mining. We do not have large numbers of computers. And we do not allow our prisoners to have any contact with the outside world. If they were playing these online games they could easily communicate with other people. We would never allow that.”
So next time you buy Warcraft Gold, keep it mind that some Chinese prisoner could have spend hundreds of hours without sleep and no pay to earn it.