Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Games Idle

China Alleged To Use Prisoners In Lucrative Internet Gaming 313

Posted by samzenpus
from the farm-for-freedom dept.
SoyQueSoy pointed out an article that reveals it's not all fun, but forced games for some Chinese prisoners. It is alleged that after a day of hard labor some inmates are forced to work through the night as gold farmers. "Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labor," [prisoner] 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. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China Alleged To Use Prisoners In Lucrative Internet Gaming

Comments Filter:
  • by immakiku (777365) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:31PM (#36246118)
    Is going to know the master character's password, dig a tunnel through the sewage, and get the warden arrested!
  • by prakslash (681585) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:34PM (#36246140)
    5000-6000 rmb a day =~ $850 a day!

    I am in the wrong business! If this is exploitation, chain me to the PC!

    On second thoughts though, that number is probably not a "per prisoner earning".

    • by Plekto (1018050)

      That's 300 prisoners making ~$850 a day. Or about $2.85 a person, per day. That doesn't sound like much, but multiply it times a few hundred thousand people and you're looking at a good extra bit of money for the government to keep running their work camps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:35PM (#36246146)

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/may2000/pris-m08.shtml

    "There are presently 80,000 inmates in the US employed in commercial activity, some earning as little as 21 cents an hour."

    "In addition, during the last 20 years more than 30 states have passed laws permitting the use of convict labor by commercial enterprises. These programs now exist in 36 states."

    "Prisoners who refuse to work under these conditions are labeled “uncooperative” and risk losing time off for “good behavior,” as well as privileges such as library access and recreation."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is the ultimate sad truth, that white america (hey that's me!) allows the laws of this country and the will of racism to subjugate and enslave people, NO DAMN DIFFERENT THEN ANY SAVAGE ERA.

      I've seen the dark side of this, and let me tell you, arm chair nerd reading this, that YOU are guilty of supporting slavery. YOU are complicit in the wonton inhumane and completely barbaric treatment of beings as human as you..

      and you'll make some joke about how its "PMITA" prison and say it could never happen
      • by timftbf (48204)

        YOU are complicit in the wonton inhumane and completely barbaric treatment of beings as human as you..

        I'm forcing inmates to eat Chinese food?

        Hint: the word you're looking for is "wanton".

    • by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:46PM (#36246230)

      That has been deemed fine, as the powers that be decided that only hard labour is cruel. Sewing for a few dollars a day is apparently fine. My real problem with it is the loaning to commercial enterprise, seems like a conflict of interest for a few parties involved, which can lead to, yeah, you know... If it's truly voluntary and not benefiting to private outfits I think it's fair enough. or if working for private enterprise, the outfit they are contracting for pays market wage, and it goes to a charity if they don't want the prisoners to collect. That way there is no advantage for the outfit, no kickback to the prison, etc.

      Wouldn't mind seeing hard labour come back for violent offences myself, at least for recidivists. Some folks you just can't reach and all that.

      • My real problem with it is the loaning to commercial enterprise,

        Absolutely. I don't think it is a stretch to say that the group of people advocating for this sort of thing is in large part the same group who tout capitalism, free-markets and laissez-faire policies. So even if they don't have a problem with forced labor, they sure are hypocrites for supporting what is essentially corporate welfare.

    • by Krishnoid (984597) *
      Cory Doctorow wrote a short story [craphound.com] about a sort of related situation. Interesting introduction to the economic forces involved for those who don't play.
  • by lucm (889690) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:40PM (#36246182)

    So that former prison guard is in jail for being a whistleblower, and now he is whistleblowing again. Tsk tsk.

    • by PPH (736903)
      Five'll get you ten that he's going to be doing time at the high stakes table for that.
    • by syousef (465911)

      So that former prison guard is in jail for being a whistleblower, and now he is whistleblowing again. Tsk tsk.

      Stop playing with whistle. Whistle not worth anything. Sword, shield, axe and crown are good paying items. Get back to work!

  • I suppose this is at least a step up from organ harvesting. If the prison bosses give kickbacks to the party, which seems likely, its not a huge leap in logic to think that the state may begin to arrest "undesirables" for the sole purpose of earning an income, unless of course the operating costs outweigh the income (IANAPB).
  • by straponego (521991) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @08:59PM (#36246346)
    This is according to a friend of mine who used to tend bar at a Reno casino. I don't know how much has changed since then; maybe a local can tell us more. Slot machines in Nevada are regulated and required to pay out a certain percentage over time. This means that the longer one type of slot at a casino doesn't pay out, the higher the odds are that they will soon. Once a casino got to the point where a payoff was probable, a bus would pull up full of compulsive gamblers, all wearing the same windbreakers. They'd sit at every machine in the casino and play until someone hit the jackpot. These people were not allowed to keep their winnings (or not much of them), but their habit was paid for.

    Since they never tipped, the bartenders hated them. Whenever they saw the bus pull up, they'd place drinks at the slots to reserve the spots.

    Anyway, wherever there is money you will find corruption. Rule of law (applied equably), transparency, and cultural values are all that mitigate this. The only reason this doesn't happen in American for-profit prisons is that the money isn't good enough, yet. But the dollar continue to drop. Your kids might gold-farm for the Chinese.

    • by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @09:23PM (#36246460)

      Your friend is full of shit, slot machines pay out consistently over time due to math. It could literally jackpot 10 times in a row or never in the machines lifetime, it's just freakishly unlikely.

      • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @09:30PM (#36246510) Homepage Journal
        Actually, no. If a machine hits jackpot twice even like that, they would yank the machine from the floor.
        • Well, yes, i suppose it would be prevented from happening because they might yank it, but not due to any of its internal programming.

        • by Phronesis (175966)

          Actually, no. If a machine hits jackpot twice even like that, they would yank the machine from the floor.

          Why? Wouldn't a machine that happened to hit multiple jackpots in a row be a huge draw for customers? My impression is that Casinos want flashy payouts to get more people to come play because they damned well understand the law of large numbers.

          • by Dunbal (464142) *
            What's the point of having your casino full of people if you are broke? People will go to casinos regardless. Gambling addiction is a recognized pathological condition, according to the DSM-IV [wikipedia.org].
      • by tgd (2822)

        No, you are full of shit. Slot machines are not random, in any sense. Modern ones are networked, and vary their payouts based on the playing patterns in the machines around them. Play slowing down? People moving between machines (ever wonder WHY there are slot club cards?), the computers will dole out various sized jackpots to keep people in their seat. If an entire row is full of people who aren't moving around and are cycling a lot of money? Payouts will drop.

        Its all totally legal, as long as the slot mac

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      This means that the longer one type of slot at a casino doesn't pay out, the higher the odds are that they will soon.

      It is for exactly this lack of comprehension of odds that the casinos put up the "recent numbers" boards at the roulette tables, and people bet based on what numbers or colors haven't shown up for a while.

      Casinos make money when you gamble stupidly.

      • You need to understand that Slot machines, unlike roulette wheels, are not purely random. They contain logic that pre-decides where the wheels will spin to and discard outlier values that would take the machine outside programmed min and max payout rates (as well as do other things designed to hook and encourage play). These payout rates are frequently set by law. Thus if a machine is reaching the low point there actually is a higher chance of a win as the machine discards more losing combinations.

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      I always wonder why these types of slots don't work on a purely random basis. Yes, there's variance to consider, but over time (even if the advantage is 0.1% or less), the tide will always go to the weighted side (just like a roulette wheel).

      • They do, the original poster is just full of shit.

      • by tgd (2822)

        Decades ago, they did. These days they're sophisticated, networked computers calculating odds across the entire casino to keep the payout percentage *exactly* at the state mandated minimum while adjusting payout patterns to keep slot players in their seat.

        So you are wonderning why they aren't random? When you take in a billion in cash, and the state mandates you pay back 97% of it, you're talking about a change in statistics shifting 30 million dollars in profits. Missing that percentage by .01% is still $3

    • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @09:52PM (#36246646)

      We have a mall with a lottery ticket booth. On occasion we get a whole crew of people (old, immigrants, hobo-looking) playing large volumes of scratch tickets. The mob boss (big fat guy in a cowboy hat) sits nearby, keeping an eye on his people.

      It's a money laundering operation. It doesn't have to pay back 100 cents on the dollar. It just has to be competitive with other methods of converting 'dirty' cash into clean.

      One thing that makes the entire operation pretty obvious: There's a food court, Starbucks and whatnot there. In any other setting, that would be a magnet for the local cops. But not here. If they've got business in the mall, they go in quickly, take care of it and get out. Fast. Evidently, there's an agreement for them to stay out.

      • by seifried (12921)
        If it's a state run lottery then the bad guys are effectively paying taxes to launder their money. This may be a factor in allowing them to continue (nothing like paying a sin tax so you can sin).
      • There's a food court, Starbucks and whatnot there. In any other setting, that would be a magnet for the local cops.

        Not in any mall food court I've ever been in over the last thirty years. (And that includes many in the Seattle area.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You missed several key points in your friend's story. There are progressive slot machines where the jackpot keeps going up based on the amount of play. If the jackpot has not been hit in a long time it is possible that the jackpot amount is enough that the odds of hitting the jackpot are in the players favor. It it costs you $1 to play and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 100, then as soon as the jackpot goes over $100 the odds of you hitting the jackpot before you spend more than the jackpot are

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        That is the dumbest thing I've heard today. And if that is actually true, they are even dumber. There is a reason why casino do not go out of business.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      Somebody failed statistics/probability 101

    • by coaxial (28297)

      Slot machines in Nevada are regulated and required to pay out a certain percentage over time. This means that the longer one type of slot at a casino doesn't pay out, the higher the odds are that they will soon. Once a casino got to the point where a payoff was probable, a bus would pull up full of compulsive gamblers, all wearing the same windbreakers.

      I call bullshit. Why? Because that's not the way the universe works [wikipedia.org]. The spins of a fair slot machine (and they are fair, are independent, identically distributed [wikipedia.org].

  • So basically, they're mining digital blood diamonds? I guess everything really is available online these days!

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @09:18PM (#36246446)

    Any minute now we'll get the BitCoin tie-in for this article.

    Any minute now...
    I'm waiting for it.

  • I can think of worse things that prisoners could be forced to do. Heck, even stamping license plates or cleaning trash on the sides of highways seems like it would be more work than playing WoW. Isn't the whole problem for whoever wrote that article that the prison officials are making money off of it? That's always the case with prisons though... While I can see how this is weird, I don't see why anyone would be pissed off about it.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      I can think of worse things that prisoners could be forced to do. Heck, even stamping license plates or cleaning trash on the sides of highways seems like it would be more work than playing WoW. Isn't the whole problem for whoever wrote that article that the prison officials are making money off of it? That's always the case with prisons though... While I can see how this is weird, I don't see why anyone would be pissed off about it.

      Did you read the bit about the guards beating the crap out of you with rubber hoses if you did not live up to your days gold quota. I think that would probably make me pretty pissed off.

      Then there is the fact that this is as well as the hard labour, not instead of. This sounds like something the prison bosses have thought up as a way of making cash on the side, the prisoners still have to do the hard labour of digging trenches in an open cast coal mine all day.

  • Amateurs, I do that before Breakfast...

  • I wonder if we can get any petitions from these guys. "Help I'm being forced to pick herbs, If I don't get 5 frost lotus an hour I get the whip. Please help me, I need 30 more before I can sleep.. help"
  • by nomadic (141991)
    What I have never understood is the appeal of buying gold with real money for a game. I mean, what's the point?
    • by iGerbil (2199962)

      Well, endgame in certain MMOs (read: WOW) is highly competitive as well as extremely time and material consuming. And the time consuming part isn't the competitive part either. In order to get the gear and all the items one needs to raid or PVP competitively and be able to buy all the stuff they want/need, it takes hours upon hours upon hours of farming the in-game currency or the materials from the limited amount of in game zones that contain them. Either way, it takes time and can be quite life consuming.

    • This is likely because your money is more valuable to you than your time. For people who have a lot of money, that's often the other way around. So if there are parts of the game they really like and parts that they don't care for so much, they can pay to avoid it, only getting the parts that they want. Some games are set up to enable that trade, and some games regard it as cheating. Personally, I'm not a fan of games that have a grind, even though I didn't mind them when I was younger. For me, though,

  • FTA:

    It is known as "gold farming", the practice of building up credits and online value through the monotonous repetition of basic tasks in online games such as World of Warcraft. The trade in virtual assets is very real, and outside the control of the games' makers.

    Why not simply make credits non-transferable within the game?

    • by muffen (321442)

      Why not simply make credits non-transferable within the game?

      I'm hoping that's a joke, money that cannot be transferred doesn't do much good.

      Think Sony (sorry for swearing) was on the right track when they created servers where they allowed selling of items for real money.

  • ...but I don't see the problem?

    They're PRISONERS. You guys do understand what that means, right?

    OK, granted, I may have an issue with what China defines as prison-worthy (ie. speaking out about the government) but setting that aside, what's the problem with PRISONERS being made to perform useful tasks?

    Prison costs money, and if you can make the prisoners work to recoup that cost, all the better.

    In China, I'd imagine it's a damn sight better than the alternative - compulsory organ donor, or somesuch.

  • I'm all for getting prisoners to work, however they shouldn't be exploited (by this I mean working ungodly hours, not being paid for it is fine).

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Working...