‘I was jailed in tiny Chinese cell with 14 inmates and only a hole for a toilet’

A British teacher has spoken of the "horrific" stretch of time he spent inside a "tiny Chinese mountain prison" for having an expired visa.

Daniel Thompson had spent a week inside the awfully conditioned prison after police found his visa had expired the previous month, locking him up with low-level criminals.

The 48-year-old brushed shoulders with 14 other inmates in a horrible cell where he says boredom was the biggest challenge facing him inside of the cramped room with a hole for a toilet.

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Daniel is now back home in Bournemouth, and has now spoken out on his prison experiences.

Speaking of his ordeal, Daniel said: "None of it seemed real until I was actually being driven to the prison with a load of other Chinese convicts. It was the most horrific week of my life, and when I think back about my experience, it terrifies me."

The teacher says he failed to renew his visa after a leg break prevented him from getting to the passport office as he'd ran out of spaces on his current passport to stamp.

By the time police had asked to see him over expired documentation, Daniel claims the school had failed to provide new documentation for him.

Police believed he was working in the country illegally, with Daniel taken to an intimidating interrogation room, where "there was five police officers in the room" at all times.

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Daniel, who was transferred to a mountain prison in Jinan, continued: "I forked out a fortune for a Chinese lawyer who spoke English, but in the end I was still handed a week prison sentence for overstaying my visa."

The teacher soon found himself whisked off to prison, where he says: "The prison guards were simply there to make your experience as difficult and as uncomfortable as possible.

"The cells were tiny and held 14 prisoners each, none of whom I could communicate with. We couldn't lie down during the day so my whole body ached from standing constantly.

"The worst part of it all was being locked in one small, cramped space for seven days – the mental cruelty of it all was horrendous and hard to bare."

After his release from the prison, Daniel decided the best course of action would be to pick up his passport from immigration and head home.

He said: "On the way to the airport I was convinced something would go wrong and I wouldn't be able to leave. But thankfully I was allowed to board the plane with no complications.

"I couldn't even get a beer on the flight back which really summed up my whole experience. When I arrived at Heathrow I felt like kissing the ground – I was so grateful just to be back in the UK.

"I can now say I've spent a week inside a Chinese jail, which was the most stressful and horrific time of my life."

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