The unusual part is that the digital labour is more lucrative than the physical labour:
"Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money. The 54-year-old ... reckons the operation was even more lucrative than the physical labour that prisoners were also forced to do.This skewing between reality and digital reality blows my mind.
"Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour," 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." (The Guardian via Charlies Diary)
This is the kind of stuff that is really going to mess with the way we think in the next decade.
*It's interesting to note that the stats mentioned in the Guardian's article were exact numbers mentioned in the Wikipedia article, only with no reference to the source or date of the studies. tsk-tsk