I￼t was nearing Halloween in 2011 and Julie Keith was opening boxes of decorations when she found a note.
Written in part English, part Chinese it had travelled 9000km.
This product is produced by Unit 8, Department 2 of Masanjia labour camp, China. People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without break, otherwise they will suffer torture, it read.
The letter gained international attention and caught the eye of a documentary maker in Canada, Leon Lee.
Leon used his contacts in China to find the letter’s author.
The softly spoken engineer named Sun Yi had been imprisoned in 2008 for his faith.
He’d suffered horrendous torture during his two-and-a-half-year sentence and was willing to risk his life to end the abuse.
‘I want to make a film to expose how evil the camp is,’ Sun Yi told Leon.
Sun Yi secretly filmed his experiences and those of guards and other prisoners brave enough to speak out. He sent the videos to Leon via encrypted messaging apps.
There was a public outcry and the camps were closed in 2013, granting 160,000 innocent men and women their freedom.
Leon helped Sun Yi escape to Indonesia in 2016. Sun Yi died a year later, but not before meeting the woman who’d found his desperate letter.
‘If I hadn’t reported that letter, thousands of people could have remained locked in Masanjia to this day,’ Julie said.
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