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China uses 1,000 camps for labor

More than 1,000 Chinese prison camps use forced labor to produce goods that are disguised by popular brand names and exported to the United States and Europe, according to a survivor of China's gulag.

Harry Wu, who spent 19 yearsin labor camps, wants France to join the United States and Britain in passing legislation banning imports of goods produced with prison slave labor.

He also hopes France will support the United States' tough stand in renewing China's most-favored-nation trade status, which links human rights to commercial and political ties.

"The Soviet Union never got MFN as a communist country. Why should China get it?" said Wu, 57. "South Africa's human rights record is terrible. Is China's human rights record any better?"

Some 10-million people are jailed in China's laogai, or labor-reform system, forced to work under inhuman conditions to contribute to China's manufacturing output, Wu says in his memoirs Bitter Winds.

Wu's Laogai Research Foundation, based in Milpitas, Calif., where he now lives, identified 1,083 labor camps in 1993. The camps typically have two names, one disguising their true nature, he said.

Wu's term in prison began when he was 23. He was arrested as a college student in 1960 for being a "counterrevolutionary rightist" but never charged or tried. He was released in 1979.

In 1991 he traveled in China, posing as a businessman but secretly filming the insides of prisons for a 60 Minutes segment.

U.S. delays missile deal for S. Korea

WASHINGTON _ The United States is unlikely to send Patriot missiles to South Korea for at least several weeks because Seoul is worried that it would upset nuclear negotiations with North Korea, senior U.S. commanders said Wednesday.

"We're holding in abeyance the deployment of those Patriots," Army Gen. Gary Luck, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Luck said he had recommended that Patriots be added to the American force in South Korea as a prudent defensive measure in light of heightening tensions over inspection of the North's nuclear facilities.

But the South Koreans balked out of concern that the timing was wrong, he said.

Luck also told the committee that in the event North Korea invaded the South about 400,000 American troops would be sent to reinforce the 37,000 Americans stationed there. And he estimated that more than 400,000 American and South Korean troops would be killed in an all-out war on the peninsula.

Elsewhere . . .

LONDON _ British police have charged a 34-year-old tailor's assistant with the murders of nine men who were killed in a fire at a London pornographic theater. Police gave no details of the motive, but media reports say the arsonist was angry after being denied entry.