Liu Dali, 54, was imprisoned in China from 2004 to 2007 for the crime of “illegally petitioning” the government about corruption in his hometown, where he worked as a prison guard. He was placed in the Jixi re-education-through-labour camp in Heilongjiang province. During the day, he was forced to do tasks like breaking rocks, digging trenches, assembling car seat covers, hand-carving chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood, and memorizing communist literature. At night, he was forced to gold farm in online games, meaning he had to spend 12 hours straight doing all the boring, repetitive crap us Westerners try to avoid, all to churn out some coins the prison guards would then sell to relatively rich gamers.
“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu told the Guardian. “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. [Ed- US $765 to $925] We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.” [Guardian]
Approximately 80% of gold farmers are in China. An estimated 100,000 full-time gold farmers live in China, although there’s no tally of how many of them are prisoners. As for Mr. Dali, he says if he didn’t meet his quota during a shift, he was beaten with pipes. This is absolutely horrible. Thus proving no human suffering is too harrowing to keep us from photoshopping animals wearing clothes into a banner picture.