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How Much Is the Monthly Salary of Reform Through Labour in Prison?

This article is translated by Google translation and edited by Jim, The original Chinese text published on Zhihu Website.

Wiring process of Electronic Transformer in a Prison Factory

Wiring process of Electronic Transformer in a Prison Factory

In my impression, the handsome guy sitting across from me was young, probably under 25; he was thin and had long fingers. The crime he committed was also very disgraceful - Gang Rape! Sentenced to life. I often hear him say that his girlfriend comes to visit him, and I feel very surprised! For some unknown reason, a woman came to visit her boyfriend who was sentenced to life for gang rape. This has little to do with the topic I want to talk about today, but when it comes to prisons, there will always be people who are curious and want to know why they enter such a place, so they must make some sort of explanation. As for myself - ha-ha, I'm not cheating, kidnapping, or committing murder, arson and violence. I'm just a small businessman in the toy business, I was selling toy guns before detained for "gun-related criminal" – Guangzhou hawker Wang Guoqi and The Tianjin balloon Aunt Zhao Chunhua was in the same situation, but my case was even earlier, for what happened in 2008, I was sentenced to 10 years, 2 appeals, 4 court sessions, 3 years in the detention centre, and was eventually thrown into prison!

The boy's name has long been forgotten. But the reason why he left a strong impression is because he is a fastest labour in our sub-district! And just sat across from me! Let's just call him Mr Strong.

Mr Strong works the hardest and has the fastest hands in his sub-division. The entire cell where I was staying was engaged in the production of electronic products. As far as I know, there are workshops that produce clothes and shoes in the prison. Relatively speaking, workshops that produce electronics are the cleanest and most tidy. Later, I went to other workshops to shoot promotional videos for the prison, and I did find that the working environment of the electronics workshop was much better than other workshops.

Flip your strong fingers and use a small wire cutter to flexibly wrap a hair-thin copper wire around the electrode column as required, and then cut off the excess wire. This process should be repeated 8-12 times, depending on the product model. Our products are transformers, the small ones you often see in computer power supplies. This was Mr Strong’s job.

A small transformer may only be as big as your thumb, and there are 12 parallel pins on it. You have to wrap the hair-thin copper wire from the two sides on the correct pins or 2 turns according to the requirements. The wiring process its self may be simple, but then the problem comes, when you are required to complete 800 or even 1200 a day, the job is not easy.

The first step in doing this is for your wire cutter to hold the copper wire precisely. I'm a One-eyed Dragon with a cataract in my left eye, and I can't see anything. In the past, I could only see 2D images in a 3D movies, and I thought it had no harm to my daily life. By this time, it will be different. Because I have only one eye and the copper wires are so thin that I often cannot accurately judge the distance between the wire cutter and the copper wire. When people clamp the wire, it should be very accurate. I often have to try 2 or even 3 times to catch the copper wire - either the scissors are below the copper wire, or they above it, but to my eye, they are clearly on the wire.

The second step is to wrap the copper wire you clamped around the electrode post! The problem is, the copper wire is as thin as a hair (of course, there are thicker ones, which are more painful). If your hand holding the wire cutter is not firm and steady enough, you will definitely break the copper wire. This is a slow and gradual process of practice and mastery. It took me a long time to master this power. This is another story.

In fact, I don't have this kind of assignments. My main job is English translation, similar as office worker in a normal factory outside. But I also have to follow the big labour army to the factory to start work, and also have to be allocated a production lines.

The standard task of a Class I labour prisoner is 8 Points a day, which means you have to complete 900 transformers a day to reach the target. I have to work so hard without any break, not even stop to drink water or go to the toilet, then I could achieve only 4 Points a day, half way to the target. It was like that every day during that time, and it felt like time went by so fast unconsciously. Very enjoyable indeed!

But, in fact, the vast majority of inmate are tired like dog every day! ! Because they have unfinished tasks, there is no pressure of reward for them. And I have never enjoyed that pressure of reward.

But what exactly it was? It's time to settle the payroll. The prison gives each inmate 10 Yuan pocket money a month, on top of this is wages you get from the labour remuneration. My production is about 420 transformers a day, and after one month, my wages are:

7.62 Yuan. Seven Yuan and sixty Cents, equals to about one US Dollar a months.

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The 10 yuan pocket money will be forced to buy two Vinda paper rolls (that is, toilet paper), costs about 6 yuan, and only a little more than 3 yuan left. So, Including my labour remuneration, my first month's net income is as high as 10 yuan!

Don't underestimate this ¥10. You have to know that living expense inside a prison are completely covered, including food, drink and clothes, and there are also armed police to guard your safety, and all these privilege costs you nothing. If I earn 10 Yuan a month, one year is total 120 yuan, if the sentence is indefinite and then reduced to 28 years by good behaviour, it will amount to more than 3,000 yuan, you can buy a second-hand Apple 6S.

After reading the above, if you think this is not too bad at all, then you are very wrong! People! At any time, as a human being there must be some sort of pursuit or purpose! How can you use me as a reference to your own life. I'm a cripple, I'm a half-blinded man, aren't you even better than a blind man?

In the evening, it is time to sign payrolls, it’s a summary table of the scores of everyone in the entire sub-division, the proportion of tasks completed, and the amount of labour remuneration. Everyone finds their name and signs it. After I signed my 7 yuan, I flipped through it and looked at the amount of others!

Basically, to complete 100% of the task, the salary is around 50-78 yuan. Why is there a difference? Because the rating systems are different. According to your physical condition, length of service, daily total number of products, there are three categories. The daily tasks of the first category are 8 points, the second category seems to be about 6 points, and the lowest third category seems to be only about 3 points. Can't remember exactly. Even if you completed 100% of daily tasks, in fact, the total score could also be different, so the amount of reward is different. Generally, if you complete 100% of your assignment, you may get more than 70 yuan, and sometimes even 80 yuan a month.

If you can’t reach the target and do not complete the task, basically you may get 10 yuan per month. Like me, it is barely half of the assignment, so my salary was about 7 yuan.

If you overfulfil production quota, for instance, you are asked to finish 900 a day, but you finish 1300 a day, overproduction! For some inmates the cumulative overproduction has exceeded 30% over the past year, these achievements can be converted into recorded merits, used for reduce prison service time! Many inmates work very hard to overproduce! They acts simply like a robot!

I look through the payroll table, and find that there are 20% overproduction, their salary is: 88 yuan, and there also some reach 40% overproduction - how did they do it? For those people, their salary is more than 90, and there are even 100% overproduction! Who could possibly achieve that? I can only guess that the person must be either a confidant of the prison warden or who have a special task arranged by the prison. Well, his wages is more than 110 yuan.

Basically, the average salary of the vast majority of people is 50-80 yuan a month, very few people can exceed 80 yuan, and some people's salary are 10-30 yuan. These are the amounts for those who have not completed the task in Guangdong prison like me normaly get each month.

When I watched Mr Strong working, his hands were so fast that you couldn't catch up their movement. He is 60% overproduced and earns a little over 100. He smokes, so he can buy two packs of cigarettes, and he still have some money left to buy a few packs of pickled vegetables!

As long as you complete the task, there is basically a reward of about 100 yuan. If you overproduce, basically 1 point of overproduction is 1 yuan. We often joke about it and even announces on the prison loudspeaker: As long as you overproduce 5,000 points per month, you can get 5,200 yuan in labor remuneration per month! 10 years later, you will get 630,000 Yuan for your release from prison! You will only regret why you were given a shorter sentence!

Mom is frying poached eggs for me. It's time for dinner, so that’s it! I've always wanted to tell you the full story, but I haven't had the time or determination.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Dalriada Books

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