Chinese labor camp prisoners forced to gold farm

Detainee tells the <i>Guardian</i> that physical punishment would be inflicted if quota not met.

Gold farming may be looked down upon in the world of massively multiplayer online games, but players cannot deny its existence (or its prevalence). A labor camp in Jixi, China has taken the practice of gold farming even further by reportedly forcing its prisoners to work in actual coal mines by day and farm for gold in online games at night. An article in The Guardian has detailed the story of a prisoner in the camp by the pseudonym of Liu Dali, who talked about his ordeal.

Prisoners of the camp had to farm for gold at night from online games.

Dali, who was a former prison guard, stated that "if [I] couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air, and after I returned to my dormitory, they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things."

This particular operation was much more lucrative than the work the prisoners did in the coal mines. "Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labor." He said that a prisoner could earn between 5,000 to 6,000 rmb ($770 to $925), with the money kept by prison officials. Dali added that "many prisons across the northeast of China also forced inmates to play games."

Gold farming is the act of acquiring in-game currency in an massively multiplayer online role-playing game and selling it to a customer for a price, usually against the wishes of the game's operator. A 2008 report on the virtual economy of online games from the University of Manchester stated that about 80 percent of all gold farmers are from China.

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Discussion

126 comments
amarmend
amarmend

яаж татах вэ ?

ParaBellum71
ParaBellum71

I love the stupidity in these comments. Like the prisoners are working to pay for prison upkeep.... The prisoners are being beat and forced to play WoW during their break from real coal mining, so the prison warden can take all the WoW profits and put them into his pocket.  

 

Also lets take note that a prison guard was also forced to make a quota, or get beat with pvc pipes. Imagine what happens when the political prisoner doesn't make his quota.

xcomboy
xcomboy

I have to believe that Blizzzzard could write some code to detect a gold farmer. Hey, start by looking for a toon name with no vowels! Or looking for trash items in the AH with a 10K Gold buyout price. Also, would it be so terrible if you couldn't give another player more than a few hundred gold? There has to be ways...

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

LOL, this is EXTREMELY f'd up. But hey, it works, right? lol

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

would someone overthrow their government already?

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

I wonder if they can be hired to do some grinding on some of my characters?

juliano001
juliano001

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

organbank
organbank

WTF, get some perspective people: 1. Farm for gold in a game all day (wow that is really really hard work...) 2. Have your organs harvested Option 1 is looking pretty good IMO.

juliano001
juliano001

Gold should remain where it belongs: real life.

juliano001
juliano001

Simple solution. Lets bane gold virtual money and items should be earned by time playing or for being cooperative with others. In this scenario everyone would help newbies and veterans alike for nice rewards (and stop being rude and egoistic) and at the same time will cease gold farming for good (and ending this kind of vile operation).

kytomasi
kytomasi

This is a good idea. Why use government money to upkeep a place where criminals live. Just like in normal society, work to pay their own.

1UP09
1UP09

indeed trust china to do something like this their blue collar workers

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

I can remember some years ago in RuneScape, there used to be 40 to 50 gold farmers on EACH members' world, just standing around fishing in the Fishing Guild. This massive gold farming is undoubtedly what led Jagex to stopping free trade (the latter of which they have now brought back - I guess they have new ways to detect the farming). With all those other fishers, it was actually hard for genuine users to catch as many fish as we should have, and it also affected the prices in the market in a big way. It was a funny thing to see though...all those users/bots with a ton of numbers in the names standing around, generally never speaking. Such is the world of MMORPGs.

drgribb
drgribb

@jummeyburrows, they do put people to work in our prisons... it's called the prison industrial complex, ever heard of it? They make your license plates, the desks and furniture in your schools and government offices, repairs on government vehicles, and occasionally clothes for employee uniforms, among other things. This labor can also be sold to interested companies for a lot of money. (Ignoring the obvious comparisons to slavery and concerns about social justice,) Prisons are very profitable- not only do they provide free labor, but they also supply their surrounding community with a lot of good paying jobs... just fyi. Tried to keep my personal opinions to myself and just lay out the facts for you.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Legendary, they should put people to work in our prisons, rather than lettin 'em freeload off our tax.

dre256x
dre256x

TooToo sad, but its no different than some of us (Americans) paying high price for name brand products, while these people work for less than minimum wage for the fashion designers etc...

pingp00p
pingp00p

Like you just said ,what the hell?!?!

ggregd
ggregd

'they did something to get in to prison right so whats bad about it' Yeah, hideous crimes like being Tibetan, having more than one child or speaking out against the government...

ggregd
ggregd

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

I hope that if I ever go to prison I'm "forced" to play videogames. That would be sweeet

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

now that is what I call "Hard Time"

vega13mv
vega13mv

"Your auction for your overpriced and obsolete item has expired. may god have mercy on your soul Xiao Ping"

Triton
Triton

Perhaps our government should look at a system like this to get some monies back from folks that may be on welfare and game all day on tax dollars... lol.

DennisWZH
DennisWZH

wow, china never cease to amaze.

aGOODdude
aGOODdude

It's stuff like this that reassures me that China won't be claiming the number 1 spot for a good while.

questclub
questclub

"they did something to get in to prison right so whats bad about it " The bad is that players are paying for gaming currency and enjoying themselves in the virtual world of fun and excitement at the expense of people being tortured and forced to mindlessly grind for the convenience of the masses.

X-RS
X-RS

well, slavery happened in the goods economy, now it is in the online economy. we really need to slow down the whole online bank account stuff. look at golden sachs.

Zloth2
Zloth2

While the story is pretty easy to believe, it IS an anonymous report. Keep your salt grains handy. @nurnberg, China is hardly communist these days. It's about as communist as Egypt was a democratic republic.

wolf0
wolf0

they did something to get in to prison right so whats bad about it

Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

And people frown on the generalization made with "chinese gold farmers" in MMOs. Gotta love the irony, and hate the reality. :)

destinyDemon
destinyDemon

Haha Death to the heratics! Burn the Witches and also SLAY the deljabahns

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

Farming WoW gold for punishment? *shudder* can't get any worse than that.

blue-peregrine
blue-peregrine

Only in the People's Republic of China. 'Nuff said.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

WTF......Wait, it isn't April Fools again is it? No...... Okay, can we please outlaw MMO games please?

Sergsky
Sergsky

The irony... America and the rest of the world keep investing in China. You'd be better off selling your soul to the devil.

samures
samures

thats one of resons why i quit wow ... gold sellers spaming all time in trade chat even in /w chat . still wow the best game i ever play

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

This report sounds a bit fishy. I have no idea if this is even real. Until there is some more solid proof, I can only take this with a large grain of salt.

Taix34
Taix34

Thats Just...Plain Evil :(

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Playing WOW all day for gold? Ewww. First Chinese water torture, now this. They are diabolical.

controlfreak25
controlfreak25

If they really wanted a punishment, make them play black ops multiplayer all day!

XeonForce
XeonForce

Manual labor AND virtual labor at the same time? That is certainly cruel and unusual punishment. Is it right to force law-breakers to make money for their government? I hate to say it, but China is just the place to come up with something so contrived and barbaric that it sounds like the punch-line of a Saturday Night Live skit. =\

RockySquirrel
RockySquirrel

Please Mr. Jailer-Man! Don't make me play WoW anymore... *** bloodcurdling screeeeeeeam ***