Exporting convicts stains china’s reputation
Several Dominicans are expressing concern about the status of the Chinese Work Force, currently working on the West Coast Road Rehabilitation Project, after a recent article circulating in the media, stated that China has devised a novel strategy to relieve pressure on its overcrowded prisons, by using convicts as labourers on overseas projects in the developing world.
The article which is titled ‘Exporting convicts stains China's reputation’ and was published on www.theglobeandmail.com stated that ‘Chinese Companies’ operating practice for overseas projects is to keep the number of local workers to a bare minimum and to bring in much of the work force from China, including convicts “freed” on parole for project-related overseas work. It said that convict labourers, like the rest of the Chinese Work Force on such projects, are housed near the project site. That way, if any convict worker escaped, he would be easy to find in an alien setting.
Considering the fact that Chinese companies cannot get thousands of prisoners released on their own, let alone secure passports and exit permits for them, the article writer Brahma Chellaney;a Professor of Strategic Studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhibelieves that the practice of pressing convicts into service on overseas projects has been instituted by the Chinese Government.
He said that thousands of Chinese convicts, for example, have been pressed into service on projects undertaken by State-run Chinese Companies in Sri Lanka, a strategically important country for Beijing as it seeks to enhance its regional position in the Indian Ocean. According to him, Chinese convicts have also been sent to the Maldives, where the Chinese Government is building 4,000 houses on several different islands as a Government-to-Government “gift” to win influence.
Chelleney who states that the dumping of Chinese inmates on overseas projects now parallels to Beijing’s exportation of goods, said that notonly is China the World’s leading executioner, as it kills three times as many people every year as the rest of the World combined, it also had one of the largest prison population of 1.57 million inmates in 2009, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College, London.