lao·​gai | \ ˈlau̇-ˈgī How to pronounce laogai (audio) \
plural laogai

Definition of laogai

: the penal system of China consisting of a network of labor camps also : such a labor camp

Examples of laogai in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That diluted Western opposition to the party’s retention of an iron grip on political power or the existence of the laogai — gulag — to which political and religious dissidents were sent. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Don’t Dismiss Communist China’s Critics," 23 July 2019 Instead, there is torture, a sham trial, and a gulag (called laogai). Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'laogai.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of laogai

1983, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for laogai

Chinese (Beijing) láogǎi reform through labor, short for láodòng gǎizào, from láodòng work, labor + gǎizào transform, reform

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The first known use of laogai was in 1983

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Cite this Entry

“Laogai.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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