Chinese prisoners have been used as gold farmers with physical punishments given if they do not meet their quotas. Punishments included being beaten with plastic pipes if they fell behind.
A 54-year-old former prison guard jailed for three years in 2004 told The Guardian
that prison bosses made more money forcing the inmates to play online games than they did from forcing them to do manual labour. Prison bosses were overheard saying they could earn between 5,000 and 6,000rmb (£470-570) a day.
The inmates were made to play online games in 12-hour shifts in the camp. 'We kept playing until we could barely see things,
' said ex-prisoner Liu Dali. He claims there were 300 prisoners forced to do this. 'Many prisons across the north-east of China also forced inmates to play games. It must still be happening.
Prisoners were also put on a mining detail, made to assemble car seat covers and to carve chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood, all of which would be exported to South Korea and Japan. Prisoners were also made to memorise communist literature in order to pay off their debt to society.
Despite regulations introduced in 2009 to restrict the practice of selling virtual currencies, figures suggest that there are around 100,000 full time gold farmers in China and the country has 80 per cent of all the gold farmers worldwide. The China Internet Centre says that nearly £1.2 billion worth of virtual currencies were traded in China in 2008.
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